Toronto Raptors: Bryan Colangelo Should Have Traded Up for Damian Lillard

Carlan GayContributor IINovember 7, 2012

Damian Lillard would look better in Raptors version of Red. and Black.
Damian Lillard would look better in Raptors version of Red. and Black.Elsa/Getty Images

Since the departure of Chris Bosh, the Toronto Raptors have been forced once again into rebuild mode.

As hard as president and general manager Bryan Colangelo has tried, he has yet to bring any type of sustained success to Canada’s only NBA team.

However, it’s not due to lack of effort. Jerry’s son has been wheeling and dealing since his arrival in the winter of ’06.

This summer came another time where Colangelo would have to revamp a lackluster Raptor roster. The point guard position was targeted as one of Toronto’s biggest weaknesses. After the failed attempt to get Steve Nash, Colangelo would strike quietly after that by acquiring Kyle Lowry from the Rockets.

Four games into the 2012-13 season the reviews on Lowry have been stellar, he brings what the Raptors have needed for years—a swagger, a confidence and a newfound toughness. Lowry leads the team in points per game (18.3), steals (3.0), assist (6.3) and is tied for the team lead in rebounds (5.8).

However, after injuring his ankle in a 108-88 blowout lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder. questions about his durability have surfaced. Lowry has only completed an entire 82 games season once in his seven-year NBA career. Including only appearing in 47 games during last year’s lockout shortened 66 game schedule.

Although you can’t predict injuries before hand, and Lowry has been everything the Raptors had hoped he would be when they picked him up this summer, did Brian Colangelo miss something special in the draft at a position of need?

Damian Lillard four games into the 2012-13 season looks like a superstar. A year or two from now we will be saying he is a superstar.

The Weber State product has brought belief that the rebuilding project over in Portland will be fast-forwarded. Lillard to Aldridge could become a Stockton to Malone-type combo for many years to come.

Lillard opened the eyes of many when he averaged 26.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists in the Vegas Summer League. He then started off his NBA career with a bang—dropping at least 20 points in his first three contests.

Lillard has proved he can play at the NBA level despite the level of competition he faced in college. Did the Raptors brain trust do their research on him?

Given the chance would Colangelo have traded up to draft a younger, more dynamic point guard to build around for many years in Lillard? Did he put too much effort into waiting for Steve Nash?

It is early in the career of Lillard, but all signs point to him becoming a superstar. One thing is for sure, Raptors fans worldwide know those superstars are hard to come by.