In two weeks, Damian Lillard will make history when he'll become the first Weber State basketball player ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Lillard has skyrocketed up draft charts after his recent workouts, and some mock drafts have him going as high as the 6th pick overall. What concerns me isn't how high he goes, but to what team. I sincerely hope it's a team that knows how to bring him along.
We only have to look back to last year's draft when former BYU star Jimmer Fredette was taken by Sacramento with the 10th overall pick. Everyone was ecstatic that Jimmer was selected in the lottery, but I guarantee he would have sacrificed a few slots in order to go to a better organization.
Sacramento completely mishandled Jimmer during his rookie year. A lot of that has to do with an early season coaching change, but Jimmer never got consistent minutes, and often times didn't know if he was going to play 25 minutes or none at all. The Kings are shambles and they may only be saved by a move to a different city.
But back to Lillard, whom I believe is a better talent than Jimmer. He didn't get the notoriety that Fredette received, having played at Weber State. But Lillard is a better scorer, passer and defender than Jimmer, and that's why most experts believe he is the better prospect.
But unless he goes to a quality organization with a solid coach and young talent around him, Lillard may struggle like any rookie. I hope he goes to a team like Portland or New Orleans, teams that have high draft picks, established talent, and could contend for the playoffs in a few years.
If Lillard ends up going to a team like Sacramento, Golden State, Detroit or Toronto, he could find himself with a team engulfed by a losing culture with no potential of getting out of it.
Lillard is strong enough physically and mentally to succeed with any team in the NBA. But having gotten to know him over the past few years, I'm hoping Lillard's path to NBA stardom has as few bumps as possible.