Lillard, of course, can’t tell each one how to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award, which he did. It’s unlikely any of the four choices the Blazers make on Thursday will have the type of season that Lillard enjoyed. It’s even possible the Blazers might trade away one or two of those picks prior to the draft.
But especially to the Portland player chosen in the first round, Lillard can share his own experience of what it’s like to go from an NBA draftee to an NBA elite player. The 60 players selected in the draft will have plenty to be excited about, but only a handful will have success next season.
Most of them won’t last past their first or second season. It’s one thing to declare for the NBA draft. It’s another thing to be selected and yet another to be successful.
Lillard was the sixth pick overall last season and was expected to have modest success, at best. He had astounding success and surprised everyone but himself. It would be even more surprising if his success did not continue this season and many more to come.
Now he’ll have possibly four rookie teammates to share his experience with. What does it take to be a successful NBA rookie? Just listen to Damian Lillard. That’s a good start.