Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has been overlooked quite a bit throughout his basketball life. Despite having an excellent skillset, it’s easy to dismiss a 6-foot-2 basketball player. Fortunately, he’s impossible to ignore these days as he’s truly one of the best basketball players in the world.
On Tuesday, Lillard put together one of his most epic performances of the season. With the Blazers down 17 halfway through the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans, the guard willed his team to a 125-124 win. Lillard finished the game with 50 points. Right after the game, he made some notable comments about all the things he’s overcome.
"I know what it's like to be unknown and to not have the lights on you and to want to be seen …"
— ESPN (@espn) March 17, 2021
— Austin Boyd (@austincjboyd) March 17, 2021
Based on the season Lillard is having, he should be a full-fledged MVP candidate. He’s currently averaging 30.5, which is second-best in the NBA. He’s also kept Portland afloat while his running mate CJ McCollum has been out with injury. The problem is that the Trail Blazers are currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference. If he can lead them to the third or fourth seed before the season is over, he should get serious MVP consideration.
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Will Lillard Win a Title in Portland?
Even if Lillard retired today, he’s probably done enough to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame. However, there’s still one glaring hole in his resume. He’s never won a championship and hasn’t even made it to the NBA Finals.
That’s not necessarily his fault. He plays at a very high level in the playoffs. He’s always had good pieces around him, too, but nothing elite. McCollum would be a great No. 3 on a championship team. He’s probably not good enough to be the No. 2 on a championship team. Portland isn’t a bad city but it’s not a big market that attracts top free agents. If Lillard hopes to win a championship there, he’s going to have to do a ton on his own.
Could Lillard End up on Lakers Eventually?
The odds of Lillard ever leaving Portland during his prime seem slim to none. He’s one of the most loyal players in the NBA. Also, the fact that the Trail Blazers are always pretty good likely plays a role in why Lillard doesn’t try to get out.
However, every player wants to win a championship. At this point, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen in Portland anytime soon. Down the road when Lillard’s prime is coming to an end, it’s possible to see him going to a championship contender. One exciting option has to be the Lakers. Lillard is from California and the team has been interested in him for a while. Los Angeles will eventually need another star to pair with Anthony Davis when LeBron starts to decline.
There might not be a better fit out there than Lillard. Pairing him with Davis would make for some amazing basketball. It probably won’t happen but there’s no doubt the Lakers would welcome it.