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Elhassan: Blazers G Damian Lillard Could Crack NBA's Top Five Players In 2018

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One writer projects that Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard could become a top-five NBA player in five years.

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Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com (Insider) includes Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard on a list of 10 players that have a chance to be included among the NBA's top five players in 2018, five years from now.

Note: all 10 players on this list have never been included with ESPN.com's top five rankings in the past.

The reigning Rookie of the Year is just 23, so expect his game to refine with age. Already a dangerous threat in the pick-and-roll with one of the leagues deadliest step back jumpers, Lillard must continue to attack the basket and get to the free throw line more often. A big part of his OK efficiency numbers can be traced back to the enormous burden he had to shoulder for the Blazers last year.With improved depth, particularly in the backcourt, the hope is Lillard can conserve more energy and focus on efficiency. Five years from now, hell be in the prime of his career with a more developed arsenal, and will be in the running as one of the best point guards in the game.

Also on the list: Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz) and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors).

SBNation.com did a Top 100 Players of 2017 list over the summer and Lillard placed No. 42 overall.

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