With 1 summer league game under his belt, the opinions about Damian have become even more polarizing than they were before. As we wait for the 2nd game of this offseason, lets step back from our own projections and speculations, stop comparing him to Bayless, Rose, Westbrook or anyone else and try to see things for what they are.
-This is a 22 year old PG who seems to be mature for his own age. We dont have to wait that long for him to become a leader on this team as it took B-Roy 1 season to step into that role. He seems to have those qualities required for now (quiet composure, level-headed, wants to involve the team and communicates well ) as seen in the first game. Down 17 with a bad start, he didnt panic or give up, he just stepped up and attacked more without losing control of the pace. As far as i'm concerned, qualities like those arent flukes that come and go from SL to the season or from game to game, so we can bank on the fact that we have a good idea of this guy's mentality from 1 game.
-His workout regimen speaks for itself., we've all seen the videos. I remember hearing somewhere that the last player to be drafted with a workout regimen close to his is Blake Griffin, one of the most explosive athletes in the world. Compare that to the out-of-shape miserable playmaker that we got in cupcake Felton last season and you WILL appreciate whatever we get from Lillard in terms of effort and impact on the game.
-He gave himself a C+ for the performance that has most of us raving about his talent. Im sure if he had made those free throws last minute, that grade would've been closer to B and he's being harsh on himself, but this is a guy who believes he can do better even when he did enough to get the win. Great sign to get from your franchise PG. If he's being this harsh on himself for a SL game, imagine the intensity during a season game and the amount of improvement we could see from him.
-coming out of a small university where he was forced to work with whatever little talent was around him. There must be solid reasons why he is such a solid shooter yet most reviewers said he makes sound decisions and distributes the ball, earning the title of the "most unselfish scoring point guard" seen in a while with that kind of team around him.
-incredible range which will allow him to use that slightly low jumpshot of his comfortably when picks are set or when he's open. We saw him do the stepback fadeaway in SL for the dagger, so you can tell this guy knows how to get his shot off and he has a high chance of making them.
All in all, when you have a guy who's talented, works hard, wants to get better and win and can be a leader for the team, im pretty sure its OK to be excited about him and the future without having skeptics spoil the fun and excitement other fans are feeling by reminding us that its only Summer League for now.