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Blazers take Weber State's Damian Lillard with No. 6 pick

Blazers take Weber State's Damian Lillard with No. 6 pick

By Anne M. Peterson, Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 28, 2012 at 7:55 p.m.


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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Portland Trail Blazers didn't pull any early surprises in the NBA draft, filling needs with guard Damian Lillard and center Meyers Leonard.

The Blazers took Lillard out of Weber State with the sixth pick before selecting the 7-foot-1 Leonard out of Illinois with the 11th on Thursday night.

It was the first time that Portland had two lottery picks in the draft. The Blazers got the sixth pick in a trade with the Nets at the March deadline for forward Gerald Wallace.

Damian Lillard
Profile
Position Guard
Height 6'3"
Weight 195 lbs
Birthplace Oakland, California
Previous School Oakland High
Key Statistics - 2011-12 Season at Weber State
Games32
Points/Game (PPG)24.5
Rebounds/Game (RPG)5
Steals47
Blocks (BLK)7
Assists/Game (APG)4

The Blazers, known for draft-night drama in recent years, had earlier targeted a point guard and center at the top of their wish list for the offseason.

Lillard, a two-time Big Sky Conference player of the year, averaged 24.5 points, five rebounds and four assists as a junior with the Wildcats before declaring early for the draft.

The 6-foot-3 guard had a solo workout with the Blazers earlier this month and reportedly dined with Portland owner Paul Allen afterward.

Lillard is the first player from Weber State to be drafted since Willard Sojourner was taken in the second round - 20th overall - by the Chicago Bulls in 1972.

The most recent player from Weber State to play in the NBA was Eddie Gill, who played in six games for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2008-09.

Leonard averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season before he also declared early for the draft. He led the Big Ten with an average of 1.9 blocks per game.

Portland also had the 40th and 41st picks on Thursday night.

The draft picks were the Blazers' first significant moves involving new general manager Neil Olshey, hired earlier this month to make over the team.

Olshey spent nine seasons with the Clippers, and last season oversaw a roster revamp that included the acquisition of Chris Paul, Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups, and the re-signing of DeAndre Jordan. As a result, the invigorated Clippers finished 40-26 and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Portland finished last season 28-38 and out of the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Portland has a history of making news in the draft. Last year the team made two significant trades, sending guard Andre Miller to Denver in exchange for Raymond Felton, and trading Spanish swingman Rudy Fernandez to Dallas.

The year before, the Blazers fired GM Kevin Pritchard on draft night.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Anne M. Peterson

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