Brett Koremenos of Grantland.com offers a thorough video breakdown of Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard's pasing skills.
For Portland, it seems as though a possession never goes by without the rookie guard and his boundless energy making their mark. Watching Lillard weave in and out of traffic to unfurl one of his silky-smooth jumpers has been a common sight, and with very little punch from the team's bench, he and his fellow starters have shouldered the bulk of the scoring load. That burden has forced Lillard to be more of a scorer than a distributor in this first season, but his low assist rate isn't a product of lacking skill.
Like any other part of the game, passing needs to be dutifully trained. Especially as a pick-and-roll point guard, Lillard must be equipped with a variety of passes that allow him to find open teammates. Thankfully, that skill was emphasized under the watchful eye of assistant coach Phil Beckner during Lillard's time at Weber State, and the rookie guard has come into the league more prepared than most to showcase it. Already this year, Lillard has shown off a passing repertoire that's helped the young Blazer guard keep his team in the thick of the playoff race.
Lillard may never rack up gaudy assist totals like Rondo or Nash, but his passing arsenal has given him the tools necessary to balance his overall game. Without that balance, the young guard would head down a path lined with discarded combo guards who could neither score nor pass well enough to make an impact on a winning team. But thanks to his polished playmaking, both Lillard and the Blazers are on the rise. And even LeBron James will tell you about it.
Thanks to ponderguy who got there first in the FanShots.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter