Portland Trail Blazers’ point guard Damian Lillard has had a lot of lines written about him in the NBA’s 2020-21 season, and there are any number of narratives to examine when discussing the potential MVP candidate. Bill Reiter of CBS Sports says that Lillard has the opportunity to cement his legacy and history within the space of this strange season as one of the league’s exceptional veteran players.
Outside of Chris Paul, Lillard feels like the most talented NBA veteran to not yet have won a championship. Unlike Paul, he’s been the most important player on a team he did lead to a conference finals, back in 2019. That sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors two years ago was so much more bitter than sweet — the continuation of the kind of history reminiscent of how Jordan destroyed Karl Malone’s place in history, again and again.
The Warriors have faced a Lillard-led Portland Trail Blazers team three times in the playoffs. They’ve gone 12-1 over that stretch.
But the Warriors are no longer the Warriors. Klay Thompson is out. K.D. is in Brooklyn. Draymond Green, a great player, is not the force he once was. The Warriors’ shift from force to long shot speaks to a wider lane for teams like Portland to scamper down.
Lillard is one of the game’s truly great players. A title, no matter how unlikely it feels today, would feel fitting.
Rip City won’t argue with the fact that a title would “feel fitting.”
You can read the other storylines Reiter examines here.