Damian Lillard was recently ranked No. 15 in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Players of 2019 ratings. Oft-injured Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving came in two spots behind him at 17. Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp, in a list of 25 topics about the list, examined the question over who is better between the two floor generals.
Sharp ultimately chooses Irving, 26, citing his performances in the playoffs, which includes a championship, as well as his perceived upside. He said the former No. 1 draft pick also commanded more respect among his peers.
Sharp does, however, point out the durability and leadership qualities of Lillard, 28.
Who you choose depends on whether you value a higher regular season baseline or a higher playoff ceiling. Lillard has been more consistent with more responsibility against tougher competition in the regular season, and he’s more durable. Still, Kyrie has a higher ceiling in the playoffs, and there’s intangible value to the upside he provides that this ranking doesn’t really account for, including a game that cultivates league-wide respect from superstar peers (which then allows his teams to chase other stars).
Ultimately, even with the real durability concerns, I’d swap Kyrie with Lillard and put him at 15 a spot ahead of Horford. Given all the value of his playoff upside, you could talk me into swapping him with Paul George at 11.
During the 2017-18 season Lillard played 73 games, recording averages of 36.6 minutes, 26.9 points, 6.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals. His career stats include averages of 36.4 minutes, 23.1 points, 6.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 0.9 steals.
Through 2017-18 Irving played only 60 games, averaging 32.2 minutes, 24.4 points, 5.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals. His career numbers show averages of 33.9 minutes, 22 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
There’s no doubt most Portland fans would pick Lillard but we’ll ask the question anyway: who ya got?
Who do you pick?
This poll is closed