Mike Prada of SB Nation takes a look at Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard's poor finishing numbers this season in an "under the microscope" feature. Lillard is currently 67-for-172 (39 percent) in the basket area, and Prada notes this percentage is among the worst for point guards with at least 40 attempts from that location this season.
Lillard shot 50 percent in the paint last year, which still isn't great, but isn't as awful as this season. While he may not be finishing well, he is drawing more fouls, going to the line 5.4 times/36 minutes this season as opposed to 3.6 last year, per Basketball Reference. And, of course, this season is only two months old.
But watching Lillard on film reveals some issues. Most notably, Lillard is a very poor finisher with his left hand. A rough count of his 155 shot attempts inside of five feet revealed 51 missed left-handed shots and only 19 conversions. His left hand just isn't strong enough to control the trajectory of the ball around the basket consistently enough. This wild finish against DeJuan Blair shows how little touch Lillard has when trying to go to his left.
It's not uncommon for young guards to struggle finishing at the rim early in their careers because they're not used to the type of length that's present at the NBA level.
Nevertheless, Lillard must decide what kind of guard he really is. If he thinks he can be explosive enough to power through defenders, he may want to prioritize getting stronger and jumping into shot blockers. If he thinks he's better off being elusive, he needs to develop his touch, especially with his left hand.
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