The Damian Lillard Portland Traiblazer’s show has officially begun. I know, I know it is the Stephan Curry show in the NBA this season but when it comes to point guards there has been some amazing performances elsewhere throughout the season. Curry’s unimaginable performances seem to have trumped the guard heavy league and in some cases rightfully so but Damian Lillard is a name that deserves recognition. I have spoken about him throughout the season but his performance in February makes for a perfect opportunity to express just how good he has been all season long. After a 2nd All Star snub in a row Lillard has been on a mission to prove his status as a top 5 pg in the league. He has all the intangibles to be one of the greats and with continued success and the leadership he displays, he possesses everything that is needed to surpass Curry in the next few years, that is if the Trail Blazers can put enough around him to help.
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After losing 3 of his go-to players to other teams, Lillard has taken on a brunt of the workload on his own shoulders. He does have help with emerging star CJ McCollum out of Lehigh who has come into his own as one of the deadliest isolation players in the game. Damian Lillard is the 5th best scorer in the league and 7th in assist this season. He has been able to increase his scoring to 25 points a game from 21 ppg just last season. Despite losing Lamarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews he has been able to keep his Trail Blazer team in contention in the West this season. Their 32-28 record keeps them in the playoffs battling with Houston, Dallas and Utah for those final 3 slots. Unlike those other teams, they are on the incline at this point in the season. Watching the NBA so called best during All Star weekend from his home must have gave him some motivation.
Let’s talk February
Lillard has been one of the best players since the All Star break averaging 30 points and 8 assist which includes a 51-point performance against the Golden State Warriors. Curry was honored with the February Player of the Month for his outstanding performances and multiple game winning shots the last 3 weeks but Damian has pulled his struggling team out of the depths of failure in his process. The Trail Blazers are far from the most talented team in the league unlike the Warriors so the pressure for near perfect play is put on the shoulders of Lillard on a night to night basis. He has stepped up to the challenge. The Trail Blazers are 8-2 in their last 10 and are putting pressure on the rest of the West as they climb up the playoff tree.
Making an argument for best back court in the league
Damian Lillard is slowly becoming one of the most productive players in Portland franchise history. He has been one of the best point guards in the league since the moment he stepped on a NBA court. Winning rookie of year by a long shot in 2012, he has continued to grow as a player every year. Adding more points and more assist every season and now with the help of McCollum, they look to be attempting to claim the position of the best back court in the league. Now, with that being said, he has some work to do. While his numbers reflect an elite player, his team’s lack luster start has him sitting behind some of the more successful back courts in the league. If I had the rate them, it would go Golden State, Toronto and then Portland unless Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler are healthy for Chicago. As these two ballers mature since Lillard is only 25 years old and CJ McCollum is only 24 they have the ability to surpass everyone if they stay on this trajectory. I look forward to seeing them work and how far Damian Lillard can take his game. What do you think about Lillard’s season so far? Tell me what you think in the comments.