When the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Damian Lillard out of Weber State last year at sixth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, I had three initial reactions to the selection. First, “Weber State?” Second, “This kid has some serious potential.” And third, “Weber State?”
It’s tough to believe that such a talented point guard came out of such a school as Weber State. But, Lillard proved in his rookie season that he was not to be overlooked just simply because he went to a school a bit under the radar.
The reigning rookie of the year put up 19 points, 6.5 assists, 3.1 rebounds and a hair under a steal per game in 2012. Shooting a relatively decent 43 percent from the field, Lillard showed his wide variety of skills he possesses to put the ball in the basket.
Heading into his sophomore year, Lillard told CSN Northwest that he has two goals. Per CSN,
“The Trail Blazers will feature a new look this season: new arena name, new bench, new start. Though it was the end of an era for the Rose Garden, no more chalupas and no more Luke Babbitt to hit them, Rookie of the Year [Damian] Lillard has set some goals not just for himself, but his team. 46 wins and an all-star appearance.”
With continued improvement out of Lillard — assuming the kid just gets better from here on out — and another year of chemistry between LaMarcus Aldridge and his young point guard — assuming he’s not traded — I definitely think 46 wins is within reach.
But, will Lillard have a shot at the All Star Game? Again, I think this goal is absolutely attainable. With Russell Westbrook coming off a serious injury, who know how he’ll return. Other guys he may be competing with would be Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson, Greivis Vasquez, Ricky Rubio, Mike Conley Jr. and maybe even that guy in L.A. Chris Paul.
Out of all of those, I think Westbrook, Curry and Paul will challenge Lillard the most. The biggest reason why he could get to the All Star Game is simply because his team depends on him the most. The Blazers don’t have a ton of talent outside of their two big names, just more of a role player rotation. Lillard should continue to improve this year and I think easily get into the All Star Game.