Rip City knows how awesome Damian Lillard is and appreciates all of the things he does for the Portland Trail Blazers both on and off the court, but recognition for the star point guard league-wide has been lacking. However, according to Sam Quinn of CBS Sports, that may be changing. He suggests, via “bold” predictions for the Western Conference, that Lillard could be a contender for MVP.
Lillard regularly flirts with the MVP award. His numbers typically fall on the low end of viability for the award, though groundswells form around his annual mid-season explosion. There is going to be a point in February or March in which Lillard averages something like 40 points across eight or nine games, and the narrative train will leave the station. What has largely held him back has been his teammates. Winning the MVP without a top-two seed is exceedingly rare. But with Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. in place to fix the defense, Portland should hover around the upper half of the Western Conference playoff picture. Enough to win the trophy? Probably not. But this is his best chance, and if he’s close, voters will lean into the lifetime achievement angle.
Might the Blazers’ production crew figure out how to pipe in MVP chants?
You can read the rest of Quinn’s predictions here.