Joe Freeman of The Oregonian looks at whether Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard could be headed for the "rookie wall" with some thoughts from coach Terry Stotts.
"Every time Damian has a subpar game, everybody's bringing out the rookie wall talk," Stotts said earlier this season. "I'm not a big believer in it. I think it's convenient when a rookie does go into a slump to bring it out. That slump can be in December, January, February or March; anytime over that four-month period, they call it a rookie wall. But every player in this league goes through a down period. It's too easy to say, 'Well, he's not used to playing this many games and he's tired.'"
Lillard's statistics in his first three months in the NBA have been remarkably consistent: In November, he averaged 18.1 points, 5.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds, while shooting 42.4 percent from the field. December (18.2, 6.9, 3.4, 40.8 percent) and January (17.7, 6.8, 3.4, 42.8 percent) were nearly identical.
"I've heard it just gets harder and it wears on you and I'm sure it will," Lillard said of the NBA season. "But I've got a lot of pride and I will do anything so I keep producing and continue to be effective. Everybody thinks it's not going to happen to them and that's how I felt about it. I'll believe it when it happens to me."
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter