Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is expected to warrant a king’s ransom in any trade that he’s involved in this offseason.
As one of the best players in the league with four years left on his contract, Lillard could be traded for one of the largest return packages in NBA history.
But how good is Lillard?
Bleacher Report ranked the top 30 guards in the league, and Lillard clocked in at No. 5.
High-mileage, athletically gifted point guards aren’t supposed to age gracefully, but clearly Dame Time moves at a different speed. His 2022-23 effort was maybe his best to date, as he pumped in a career-high points, matched his third-highest assists average and splashed a personal-best 4.2 triples per night (at a 37.1 percent clip, no less).
Ducking the injury bug could prove increasingly difficult as he gets older, but his offensive concerns start and stop with that worry. If he’s healthy, he’ll be slaying defensive dragons and steering what should be a high-powered attack, regardless of where he’s suiting up.
The guards that ranked higher than Lillard in Bleacher Report’s ranking were Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks).
The NBA believes Lillard is one of the best, but Blazers fans know just how special Dame can be and how he can alter a whole franchise, much like he’s done with Portland since being drafted No. 6 overall in 2012.
While many may criticize Lillard’s inability to lead a team past the Western Conference Finals, very few players are better than him. This is exactly why the Blazers have held on to any hope they can to keep him on a contender for so long and why it’s not going to be easy to come up with a legitimate package that quantifies his value.