When Will We Stop Ignoring Damian Lillard?

Eric Rodas
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[author image=”https://www.the3pointconversion.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/EAR_Headshot-e1454263687203.jpeg” ] Eric Rodas [/author]



Can some one please explain to me why Damian Lillard continues to be left out when it comes to point guard discussions, polls and ratings? Now, I’m not going into a rant about NBA All-Star snubs. I’m just having a hard time deciphering why this gentleman consistently continues to be left out the aforementioned debates.

Although I’m not a numbers guy, you have to admit statistically, he’s keeping pace with whom people consider elite point guards. His 24.3 ppg, 7 apg and 4.4rpg are relatively close to Russell Westbrook’s 24.1ppg, 9.9apg 7.3rpg and Stephen Curry’s 29.7ppg, 6.6apg 5.2rpg. Where they differ and the reason why he was left off of the All-Star roster is in the win column. With the Portland Trailblazers’ record at 22-26, Lillard often is the victim of statistical satire. That being said, if we take a closer look at his current situation, you will find that his team record could work for him more as a testament of his abilities.

Honestly, ask yourself how many of us thought that Portland would be in a dire situation after losing the corner stone of their franchise when LaMarcus Aldridge left for San Antonio? I was guilty of this notion. Consider the fact that the Trailblazer roster is a relative whose who of journeymen and unproven players. While Westbrook has Kevin Durant and Curry has Draymond Green and Klay Thompson contributing to their winning records respectively, Lillard is dealing with a young and inexperienced team. Currently, Portland has the eighth seed in the Western Conference. How can this be?

One reason is his stats actually lead to wins. Too many times, players rake in triple doubles but leave the win behind; 40-point games that seem to be irrelevant to whether the team wins or not. Now, you can’t win every game. One team has to lose. I reiterate, I’m not a numbers guy but I do find the patterns in those numbers very telling. Let’s elaborate on this point for clarity.

If he score 40 points in a game but only four of those points came in the fourth quarter, how can you argue that his performance lead to the victory instead of just contributing to it? On the other hand, if he scored 20 of those points when it mattered most in the game (the fourth quarter), especially the last two minutes, who could argue that his efforts didn’t seal the victory for his team.This is an example of the perspective fans should utilize when evaluating players and their productivity that can only be seen in patterns of their stats. Another notable statistic is, he averages 7 assists per game when no one else on his team is in the top 15 on scoring. Curry is No. 1 and Thompson is No. 14. while Westbrook is No. 7 and Durant is No. 2.

All stats aside, if you truly evaluate his game, you will see that he commands the pace of the game, facilitates scoring opportunities (not just drive and kicks) for his teammates and has the knack for hitting the big shots when they count the most (putting the Houston Rockets out of the playoffs two years ago comes to mind). To continue to leave him out of these discussions really becomes more of a testament of your knowledge (or lack there of) rather than an accurate statement of his attributes.

Eric Rodas

Los Angeles, California

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