Damian Lillard might be the best point guard in the entire NBA right now. That claim has been made by Portland Trail Blazers fans through much of the 2019-20 season, but national writers and analysts are starting to take notice as well, courtesy of a torrid outburst of points and assists during January and February of 2020.
Writing for CBS Sports, Michael Kaskey-Blomain takes up the cry of Lillard Mania, arguing explicitly that Lillard is outclassing every player at his position this year.
He starts with the general bona fides:
Lillard, a five-time All-Star, is in the midst of the best season of his eight-year career. Per performance, he’s averaging a career-high 29.5 points to go along with a career-high 7.9 assists. He’s also shooting a career-high 46 percent from the floor and 39 percent from long distance (tied with his mark from the 2013-14 season). On the season, Lillard is fourth in the league in points per game (though he’s just half of a point behind reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for the second spot), and sixth in assists. He’s one of four players – along with Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and James Harden – to be in the top 10 in both categories this season. He’s also top-10 league-wide in fourth quarter scoring.
After this, Kaskey-Blomain provides quotes from teammate Carmelo Anthony—a sure Hall-of-Famer—and Lillard himself while breaking down video of Lillard’s evolving game. He does a good job of highlighting how Lillard has responded to opponent tactics over the years, updating his attack to near-unstoppable levels.
Kaskey-Blomain finishes with a rundown of league point guards and finds the competition lacking.
He’s a [much] better shooter than the extremely explosive Russell Westbrook, which makes him a more difficult cover. He has experience over up-and-comers like Doncic and Young, and while Eastern Conference floor generals like Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry are both great, neither have been producing at the consistently high level that Lillard has. Lillard also has a proven history of being clutch; just ask Westbrook. So while there may be a conversation to be had when it comes to picking the league’s best current point guard, that conversation can’t be held without mentioning Lillard’s name. There aren’t many — if any — playing better ball than he is this season.
The article is worth a shot if you need ammo in your next pub argument about who reigns supreme at the one spot in the NBA.