2012 NBA Draft Grades: Meyers Leonard to Trail Blazers at No. 11

Portland Trail Blazers | Last Season: 28-38 | Draft Picks: 6, 11, 40, 41

Season Summary: The 2011-12 season was a year to forget for the Trail Blazers considering Brandon Roy was forced to retire and the team was left with no choice but to release former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden. On a positive note, the team has to be pleased with the progress surrounding LaMarcus Aldridge—who arguably had one of his best seasons last year.

Draft Needs: Point guard and a center is the biggest need for Portland and they should consider themselves lucky to have two first-round picks in this year’s draft.  They addressed the need at guard selecting Weber State’s Damian Lillard with the 6th pick.

#11 Pick: Meyers Leonard | C | Illinois

Leonard has the tools and athleticism to contribute right away, but don’t expect his game to fully blossom for a few years.   His ability to get up and down and the court faster than most bigs will be an advantage, but he has to get stronger.  If you watched the Illini play last season you saw an extremely talented 7-footer who could score and block shots.  At times, I’m sure he also had you scratching your head with inconsistent play and a bit of a temper problem.

Grade: B

2012-2013 Outlook: Unfortunately, next season looks like a rebuilding year for the Trail Blazers considering how many talented teams there are in the Western Conference. However, that could change if they manage to land a big name through free agency—so it looks like we’ll just have to wait a few months before finalizing a prediction.

Check out all of Rant Sports 2012 NBA Draft Grades from the 1st Round.