It’s been a great season for Portland Trail Blazer rookie Damian Lillard, who seems to have wilted a little bit from the pressure in the remaining weeks of the regular season to try helping his team make the NBA playoffs.
But Portland’s eight-game losing streak took the team out of the playoff picture and the best the Blazers have to shoot for is a 5-0 finish and 38-44 record.
Lillard continues to have credentials establishing him as a strong Rookie of the Year candidate with averages of 18.8 points 6.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. Recent games seem to indicate he’s starting to run out of gas.
Lillard, averaging 38.6 per minutes per game, has had 40 minutes the past two games. Against the Dallas Mavericks, he was 6-of-19 from the floor and 0-of-5 from the 3-point arc. He’s been hitting 36.8 perent of his 3-point tries this season.
He had four assists and 15 points. Those aren’t bad numbers, but if Lillard would be playing like he has most of the season, those totals would have been higher. He hasn’t been putting up the numbers the team needs while fighting for a playoff spot.
However, Lillard accomplished plenty this season and the Blazers just need to work at establishing him as a better 82-game player next year. They have enough talent to make the NBA playoffs. They’re in a conference with so many outstanding teams and need Lillard and some of the other Blazer stars to pick up their game a few more notches to give the franchise a chance of having a contender.