BlazersEdge needs optimism, today Damian Lillard gets a season preview from this Optimistic view. If you are being optimistic about Blazers, you can't start anywhere except for with their superstar Damian Lillard.
Portland can win a title because Damian Lillard is that good. 2021-22 wasn't going good and the Trail Blazers pulled up limp before the midpoint of last season. It was a big change for Portland Trail Blazers fans to have Damian Lillard missing for half the season. The entire NBA noticed that Lillard was no longer making his presence felt in every match-up, and instead, rookie head coach Chauncey Billups & the youth that wasn't shut down competed and showed us glimpses of our "new brand" and some of the fresh talent in Portland. Clearly Blazers were focused toward change and their off-season/mid-season moves. Dame didn't ask for it, but he was sidelined indefinitely. Limited to just 29 games total.
With time to rest his body and mind, Lillard dealt with an abdominal surgery in January with a 6-week recovery window. Damian got a break to refresh and rejuvenate himself, enabling the team and organization a retooling and adapting to practically new everything in the Blazers organization over the past two years. Remember a disappeared Neil Olshey, moving on from Terry Stotts,hiring new coach Chauncey Billups, new front office with Cronin, trading Dame's running mate CJ McCollum, and even moving to new play by play with Kevin Calabaro... lots has changed. The one thing that hasn't changed in Portland, is that the Trail Blazers are anchored by their greatest talent and leader in franchise history, Damian Lillard. And 2022-2023, might be the beginning of Damian Lillard's best run; where he can operate in the zone of peak physical abilities, peak mentality/hoopIQ, while surrounded by his best overall roster to run with. Is Superstar Damian Lillard ready to break out?
Damian posting his best career numbers would be 29ppg, 40% 3-pt shooting, 8apg, 4rpg, 1+spg and a Western Conference Championship berth and a top-4 seed in the West would be more than enough to signal to the league that Damian Lillard deserves even more respect on his name.
Dame is respected more by those in the Association, compared to fans of the association. I think many team's fans might feel that their young stars or older stars are better or as good as Damian Lillard... but they'd be wrong. Players in the league are not stoked to play Damian on a big stage, after all, trying to out-shoot Dame has crushed a lot of stars. Like defensive guru-Paul George proclaiming Dame's logo-3 is a "bad shot" because he was POSTERIZED by that Logo 3 at the buzzer of a big game. Oh, and the fact that trying to keep pace with Dame's shooting is ultimately what has led to all the disrespect and lack of belief that Russell Westbrook is not truly a top-tier lead-Dog in the NBA, but rather just another pretender.
There are plenty of hurdles that Lillard and Portland would have to get over in order to add the kind of additional respect to the pile of respect that is already in his corner. People need to see him for who he is, not just his people. The Portland Trail Blazer faithful know 100% they have a generational Superstar at the helm of their franchise. Dame is so impactful and purposeful both on and off the court, he is great with kids camps, TV ads, dealing with the media, showing off his own successful personal life, and having a complete other hustle as Rap/Hip-Hop Artist. Not to mention being the namesake of currently the hottest line of basketball shoe style/function since the era of the AirJordan!
Lillard, in all areas of life, is crushing it. Only not enough people have taken notice. That is what is going to change in 2022-23 NBA season.
The optimist is in! Damian Lillard returning from his 10th year mini-sabatical starts the season on fire and never lets up. Scoring 24 to 26 points per game is a big deal, but averaging 30ppg would put everyone on notice. Not an easy feat, especially considering that Chauncey Billips is looking to coach a more motion (less ball stopping) offense which might take the ball out of Lillards hands. Optimistically, this Billups offense will enable a more efficient Dame to splash assisted looks and still be able to be a most deadly takeover guard when the time arises. One stat that would definitely make more of the world notice Lillards greatness, is if this Billups offense somehow enables Dame to average 10 assists per game. To date, Lillards highest assists average was 8.03 in 2019-20 season. Mostly Damian posts 6 to 8 assists per game, so this would be a huge leap statistically and likely be a bi-product of Billups system.
Back from sabatical, Lillard just experienced his best personal reboot since being a pro. Unlike other players, who get a "reset" of sorts when they change franchises. This reboot will not only boost DameDolla's physical health, but his mental health as well. Lillard isn't the type of person to act as if they "deserve" time off, or ask for it... in fact that is against his nature. Boxing, Rapping, Hooping, Dad-ing, and slanging Toyota's is a lot of work... all this organizational change forced all the factors that ultimately forced Dame to accept his time for rest, recovery, and... reflect. Rest of his body, recovery from abdominal surgery, and reflection on his career. Reflection that resulted in resigning to extend his time in Portland (and making it harder for him to be acquired in trades due to the DollaAmount, lol). Clearly, Lillards mind is made up that he wants to use these 3-4 PRIME SEASONS left on his body with the franchise that he can clearly and forever call "his".
News today had Damian Lillard (and Anfernee Simons) "trade value" drop due to the recent contract signing. Lillard doesn't care. He is not looking to go anywhere else. Dame Time happens for Portland, and Lillard is legendary for his loyalty and leadership, not to mention his range,clutchness, and charisma. Lillards Superstar skill-set
Lillard will be back in 2022-23 with an entire new cast of running mates. He will have no lingering physical issues and should be in most prime of Lillard prime to date. This will be the year that Lillard "breaks out" and sees his star profile rise even higher. And for that to take place, plan on seeing bests for both his personal statistics and his teams' finishing. 30ppg, 40+% 3-pt shooting, 9apg, and visit to the NBA Finals.
How good will Damian Lillard be this season?