Portland has truly found something special with this kid from Oakland, California. At 30 years old, Damian Lillard is still proving to us every night why he should be in your top 10 point guards list right now.
Lillard is in his 8th year in the league and has always shown signs of great potential to thrive in the NBA. Every year, we have the rookies come in with some “big-name” attached to them, but then, we tend to forget about some of the things our current stars are doing.
Did you know Lillard has the most points total in the entire NBA right now? It’s no wonder he’s able to put up such amazing numbers every night! In his time in Portland, he and his stud teammate CJ McCollum have recruited noteworthy veterans like Carmelo Anthony to try and help push the Trailblazers to a championship.
The last time Portland went to the Finals was in 1992 when they were led by Hall-of-Famer Clyde Drexler, and the last time the Blazer actually won a title was in 1977 when Bill Walton was only 25 years old and still dominating as one of the best big men in the league back in the day.
Remember when Dame hit the game-winning shot in 2014 to send the Blazers to the second round against the Houston Rockets? The crowd and everybody else was going wild; the announced screams on national television, “FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 14 YEARS…”
If you do the research, you find out it’s true; the Trailblazers had failed to make the second round of the playoffs for twelve straight years before drafting Lillard, and two years later, they made the conference semi-finals. The image below shows the Trailblazers playoff drought and what the Blazers have been doing before they drafted Damian Lillard in 2012. Just 2 years later, he finally sent Portland back to the second round in the playoffs.
Now, they still haven’t made it as far as they want, but in 2019, they came very close to a championship by making it to the conference finals, which is where Lillard was faced against 3x NBA Champion and 2x MVP Stephen Curry. Of course, Curry got the best of Portland that time, but if you look at their organization, they haven’t really been this far since their rebuilding years. Lillard was and is the man that makes this success possible.
On paper, Lillard is having a great career. The 2013 Rookie of The Year has had great individual success with 6 All-Star appearances. The one thing that could truly solidify his career and placement among the greats would be an NBA Championship, or else, he’ll be stuck in the category of some great players that have never won a ring.
Virgil Villanueva, a sports writer from Clutch Points, responded to Lillard’s 2019 season, saying, “There’s no doubt Portland fans saw a team filled with determination. Though their team didn’t get the job done, they can still call this season a successful campaign. From this experience, they can only learn and move forward to greater things.” Dame has always seemed to get overlooked in favor of other players in the league, but this season, he has proven that he will forever belong with the best of the best.
Media by Justin Cross.