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Thorpe: Blazers G Damian Lillard To Have Kyrie Irving Type Impact

One national analyst sees Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard impacting his team in the same was as 2012 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

Jaime Valdez-US PRESSWIRE

David Thorpe of ESPN.com, long one of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard's biggest supporters, offered this assessment after his debut on Wednesday night. Lillard was placed No. 2 in Thorpe's ranking of this year's rookies, behind New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis.

Lillard is the best lead guard in this class; that much we know. He might be the best perimeter player overall. No player will be given the responsibilities that Lillard will have from day one, which means he will be allowed to fail without big consequences. That is an integral part of a star player's development.

His talent and poise, along with the ample opportunities he is going to get, suggest that he'll have a real chance to make the kind of impact that Kyrie Irving did last season, and for a better team. Nothing we saw in his first NBA game changed our minds from what we've been seeing for months now. Lillard is every bit the ROY candidate Davis is.

Thanks to LaFreakish in the FanShots.

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