Report: Cavs Front Office Members Wanted to Draft Damian Lillard Over Dion Waiters in 2012

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Feb 7, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots a jump shot against the Utah Jazz during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers could have drafted superstar Damain Lillard in the 2012 NBA draft.

Instead, the Cavs selected Dion Waiters with the No. 4 pick while the Portland Trail Blazers snagged Lillard with the No. 6 of that year’s draft.

According to a report from Chris Fedor of, the Cavs actually had significant in interest in picking Lillard.

“Back in 2012, there was at least one key member of the front office who loved Damian Lillard,” Fedor wrote. “He thought Lillard had star qualities. But the Cavs had just drafted Kyrie Irving one year earlier and were worried about the optics of back-to-back point guards. They were also concerned about a funky fit.”

Considering how things have played out after the 2012 draft, the choice to select Waiters over Lillard could be considered one of the worst decisions in franchise history.

Lillard, 29, is currently a top-tier point guard in the NBA. He has career averages of 24.0 points, 6.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Last season, the All-Star heroically led the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.

Waiters, on the other hand, appears to be lucky that he’s still in the league.

The Syracuse University product played two full seasons with the Cavs. However, he wasn’t able to impress the team enough as he got shipped in a deal that got the Cavs veterans Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith in 2015.

Since then, Waiters has bounced around the league. He has been suspended several times for off-court issues.

The journeyman has career averages of just 13.2 points and 2.8 assists per game.

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Justin's enormous respect for LeBron James has ignited him to write for the King and the Cavs. His all-around analysis and heart for the game has made him a premier NBA writer and proud staff writer for Cavaliers Nation.