Thomsen: Blazers G Damian Lillard Reflects On Rookie Season

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

One national writer takes a year-end look at Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard.

Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated has a lengthy year-end piece with Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard, who was named 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year earlier this week.

"Some things have started to seem more possible,'' he said by phone from Portland on Wednesday. "I don't look at myself any different. I still have the same confidence. But when you accomplish something like this, everything seems possible. Some things I've thought about, what does it take to do it? How successful I can be, what level player I can be, where I can help my team get to -- it's stuff like that.''

...

"Defensively in college, I guarded the best player every day,'' he said. "This year, having to guard 60 pick-and-rolls a game, having to chase guys off pick-and-rolls, having to get through pindown screens, having to do all of those things -- I didn't think it would be that tough. But it was really tough. I was more tired mentally than physically. A lot of stuff goes on that you don't know about. Appearances, photo shoots, the interviews, a lot of media stuff and then playing and travel and practice in addition to doing all of those other things. You don't see that until you start doing it.''

...

Allen Iverson used to be his favorite player.

"I didn't really model myself after anybody,'' Lillard said. "But he was a small guy and he put the ball in the hole. For a guy as small as him to be able to lead a team to the Finals, to put forth as much as did for the game -- we all loved A.I., from the crossover to the way he wanted to win.''

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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