Damian Lillard, the Underrated Star?

DENVER, CO - MAY 7: Damian Lillard (0) of the Portland Trail Blazers drives on Gary Harris (14) of the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The Denver Nuggets versus the Portland Trail Blazers in game five of the teams' second round NBA playoff series at the Pepsi Center in Denver. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Damian Lillard has been known as a really good player for a while now. He’s a dynamic high scoring point guard that can really dish out the ball. Due to the lack of his team’s success and the small market he plays in, not many people know him well. Lillard is constantly being overshadowed by players like Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry. This year, Lillard’s on a mission to show the world what he’s capable of and leave a lasting impression on the sports world. Here’s why Damian Lillard is the underrated star.

Damian Lillard, the Underrated Star

Fast Start

Damian Lillard is a workhorse and played all 82 games his first three years in the league. He’s missed a couple of games in recent seasons but has averaged 78 games in through his career. In his rookie season, he averaged 19 points on 43% shooting from the field, 37% from three, and averaging 6.5 assists. It was due to these numbers, Lillard was named the unanimous rookie of the year in 2013. This was a rookie class that featured future stars such as Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal.

 

Small Market 

One of the biggest things that hinder Damian Lillard’s market is the fact that he plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. They are a small market team that hasn’t had much success. They haven’t won the NBA finals since 1977, and haven’t been to the NBA finals since 1992. The Trail Blazers lack of star power kept less focus on their team. Lillard had to be the driving force behind the team’s success until CJ McCollum was drafted and helped give the franchise more of a spotlight.

Regular Season Success

In the regular season, Lillard has averaged 23.5 in his seven seasons in the NBA. In those seven seasons, he’s scored a career-high 59 points, dished 16 assists, and hit ten threes. These numbers don’t happen every game, but they’re big-time numbers for any player. Lillard is a 43 percent shooter from the field and 37 percent shooter from three. This is where his success comes from. Lillard is a consistent scorer and can do it in multiple ways. Lillard’s success as a scorer comes partly from the free throw line. He’s a career 89 percent shooter and has averaged 90 percent or better the past two seasons.

Big in the Playoffs

Damian Lillard has shown he can come in clutch plenty of times in the playoffs. In six trips to the playoffs, Lillard has averaged 24.4 points. This season Lillard has blown past his previous career high averaging 29.6 points in 10 playoff games. He’s also shooting a playoff-high 45 percent from the field. Lillard has turned up his defensive intensity as well as averaging two steals per game. Damian Lillard has turned in multiple consistent playoff performances despite some being very short. Most recently, Lillard hit the game-winning shot to clinch a playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. A three-pointer that was launched well behind the arc.

2019 and Beyond 

Damian Lillard has a chance to be a generational player. He’s still very young at 28 years old. He had a chip on his shoulder trying to prove his worth. That may all be changing, however. After leading the Portland Trail Blazers to the Western Conference finals, he has put this team on the map for the world to see. Regardless of where they finish, they look to be one of the top seeds next season.

 

 

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