Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard earned a few mentions in an ESPN.com panel discussion of the upcoming Rising Stars game at 2013 All-Star Weekend in Houston. (Unfortunately for Lillard, panelists were asked to select between him and Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving, as you would expect, took the clean sweep.)
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: Irving. He's just a little more polished. Hard to believe that statement applies to someone who has played less than 100 college and pro games combined. Lillard is right behind him and can close the gap even more if he makes the playoffs while Irving is at home. But for now I'm going with the returning rookie of the year over the next rookie of the year.
Ian Levy, The Two Man Game: Irving. Both players are tremendous, smoothly shifting gears from meticulous distribution to devastating scoring. However, in a vacuum devoid of circumstance, I think Irving's ability to create offense for himself separates him from Lillard. Also, if the ambiguous future factors into the decision, Irving is two years younger.
Ethan Sherwood Strauss, HoopSpeak: Irving. Didn't he hit 8 of 8 3s and dominate last year's Rising Stars Challenge? I say that with a question mark because those games blur past my brain. Anyway, Irving is better than Lillard at pretty much everything right now. Lillard's a slightly better passer, but this game isn't exactly the forum for crisp, smart pick-and-roll dimes.
Lillard was named to the Rising Stars (formerly the Rookie/Sophomore Game) and is reportedly set to participate in the Skills Challenge too.
Moosen PDX noted a comparative breakdown of the two players in the FanShots recently.
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