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Bucher: Scouts Like Blazers G Damian Lillard As First Quarter ROY

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NBA talent evaluators see Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as the early Rookie of the Year favorite.

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The first quarter Rookie of the Year love continues to pour in for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.

Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea.com reports that Lillard is the favorite among a number of talent evaluators around the league.

While No. 1 pick Anthony Davis was the overwhelming choice in a preseason survey of NBA general managers - who don't always personally fill out the survey, I'm told - to win the award, a direct poll of a half-dozen assistant coaches and scouts - the ones who do the detailed advance reports on opponents, including player evaluations - has Lillard as a heavy favorite at the season's quarter-pole.

Davis, of course, has made only 10 appearances and six starts this season due to a concussion and then a sprained left ankle, but Lillard, the sixth overall pick, has been so impressive that several pollsters believe Lillard may not relinquish his lead even once Davis is healthy and rolling.

"Poise and pace," said one Eastern Conference assistant coach when asked what impressed him most about Lillard. "He does not get too rattled when things are going bad and when they are good he appears to keep the same focus. He shoots it well and makes good passes, but the poise and pace, while obscure, are more important to his success. He is not afraid of the big moment, either. Which is big."

A panel of ESPN TrueHoop Network writers recently came to the same conclusion.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com also named Lillard his first quarter Rookie of the Year.

Some idiot at SI.com did too.

Lillard was named Rookie of the Month for October/November.

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