Dec 8, 2012; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots past Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA Today Sports

Amick - Kings Passed On Damian Lillard Because Of Maloofs?

I fully admit I wasn’t a big Damian Lillard fan coming into the 2012 NBA Draft – not that I didn’t think he had talent or wouldn’t be a good fit for the Kings, I was just a bigger fan of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and to a lesser extent, Thomas Robinson. Lillard was my distant third choice if both MKG and Robinson were off the board but it appears the Sacramento Kings front office had high hopes for Lillard and the rumors about the Kings thinking about selecting the Weber State product were more than real.

According to Sam Amick, the Kings indeed were very close to selecting Lillard in the NBA’s most recent draft, though opted for the “safe route” in Thomas Robinson because of concerns about the Maloof’s desire to pay impending free agent Jason Thompson:

There was strong support for Lillard among the team’s front-office and scouting staff, but the unexpected chance to grab Robinson when he slid was seen as a safer option in case the Maloofs didn’t pay the market price for Thompson and the team was left with Cousins and veteran forward Chuck Hayes on the frontline.

Dysfunctional isn’t even the word for the Kings organization in recent years and for a front office to not be in-line with ownership is – well – frighting. The blind leading the blind.

I still don’t fault the Kings for grabbing Robinson over Lillard – but for the front office and ownership to not be 100% on the same page? Yuck.


Tags: Damian Lillard Maloofs Portland Trailblazers Sacramento Kings

  • Marilyn Kenyon

    Like you, I was also a fan of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Most of the talk and chatter at the time was the hope he would fall to the Kings. Thomas Robinson wasn’t on my radar because most of the mock drafts had him going higher and he didn’t even come to Sacramento to workout for the Kings, a decision made by Robinson or his agent, for whatever reason.

    That said, the video of the workout of Damian Lillard’s with the Kings was amazing. So fluid and he seemed to hit everything. It was a video, but still he looked impressive. Also the rumor was the Kings liked him. He wasn’t that high on a lot of the mock drafts at the time, still under the radar, but I liked him a lot.

    I wasn’t upset about the team selecting Thomas Robinson, as he was expected to go higher, had a lot of glowing things reported about him, and he seemed to be a “safe” pick. Although, he didn’t seem that thrilled, to me, on draft night to be selected by the Kings. It wasn’t until Summer League when my first big doubts about the draft came. That hindsight is 20-20 thing

    As you recall, Robinson wasn’t all that in summer league, while Damian Lillard was, and the Kings signed Aaron Brooks!

    If the Kings felt they needed another point guard, then they should have drafted Lillard when they had the opportunity.

    So, here we are now, Damian Lillard leading the Rookie of the Year campaign, a dreamboat of a player, a logjam at the guard situation, and Thomas Robinson having his struggles in his first year as a rookie.

    I don’t how much fault to give to the front office except for the fact that they signed Aaron Brooks, when they could have had Lillard and the fact that they didn’t have an opportunity to have Robinson work out for them prior to the draft, because he chose not to work out for teams below the fourth spot. That should have been a cautionary tale.

    In the final analysis, this is just one more blot on Geoff Petrie’s resume that he passed up Damian Lillard. It is on Petrie to draft the best player possible.