Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider) writes that Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is having one of the best rookie seasons by a point guard in the three-point era.
Lillard has played well enough to force himself into a larger discussion, one that also includes several of his contemporaries, such as first-time All-Star Kyrie Irving and All-Star snub Stephen Curry: Who are the best rookie point guards in recent NBA history?
Just past the season's midpoint, Lillard is on pace for slightly better than seven wins above replacement player (WARP), a mark reached by only 14 first-year point guards in the 3-point era (dating back to 1979-80). The best player in that span, whether you go by WARP or PER -- as John Hollinger did at the time -- is Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul, who put up 15.7 WARP in 2005-06 to edge out Magic Johnson's debut season (14.6).
Irving, who had 8.0 WARP despite missing 31 games because of injury, checks in eighth on the list. Then there are a group of six players, including Lillard and Curry, between seven and eight WARP.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter