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Raptors HQ Draft Board 1.0 - Damian Lillard or Bust

Let's take a step back to early in 2011.

The 2012 draft class was supposed to rival that of 1996 on sheer volume of talent, and it was the draft to partake in if you were looking to rebuild your club's talent.

But then came the 2012 college season and suddenly prospects like Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes and Terrence Jones lost some of their luster.

Others returned to school, pulling out of the draft, and well, suddenly there seem to be two key tiers, Anthony Davis, and guys like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and Thomas Robinson below him.

After that?

It's a bit like last year where the waters are pretty muddy.

At eight, there's only one player I truly care to see the Raptors draft at this point, assuming they keep the pick. Damian Lillard. We'll be building the case for Lillard over the next few days but to me, he's the lone player who via sight and advanced stats passes the "he should be a top eight pick" test.

Following him we've got a jumble of options, all of whom I'd be fine with the Raptors taking, but none of which I'm expecting big things from in terms of All-Star potential:




1. Damian Lillard

Weber State


2. Dion Waiters



3. Jared Sullinger

Ohio State


4. Kendall Marshall



5. Moe Harkless

St. John's


Waiters has the best upside of the bunch but statistically speaking (more on this later this week), he looks like a less efficient Jerryd Bayless.

Sullinger should have a long pro career, but his athletic marks were a concern and it's easy to see him as Shelden Williams 2.0 down the road.

Marshall by all accounts appears to be the safest pick of this bunch, but I can't shake visions of Marcus Williams floating in my head.

And while I love Harkless' upside, he's got a ways to go in terms of rounding out his basketball skills.

Admittedly, I'm nearly as fond of drafting Quincy Miller or Terrence Ross as I am most options after Lillard, so the next 10 days before the draft could see some shuffling of the deck.

After all, it wasn't until a few days before draft night that I began advocating the selection of Jonas Valanciunas simply as I wasn't in love with any other options...and we may see a similar case again this year.