Blazers guard unanimous winner after impressive first season in Portland.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has been named the NBA Rookie of the Year after a eye-catching opening season in the league.
Lillard, the sixth overall pick in last June’s draft out of Weber State, led all rookies with a 19-point scoring average as well as averaging 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, as he played in all 82 games this season.
In addition, the 22-year-old from Oakland broke Stephen Curry’s rookie record for 3-pointers in a season, finishing with 185, and further became just the third NBA rookie with at least 1,500 points and 500 assists, following Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson.
He has received praised from all quarters throughout the season, with Blazers general manager Neil Oshley having no doubts about making him the franchise point guard from the start of the campaign.
Lillard impressed Kobe Bryant after their meeting earlier this year during the regular season, where the Mamba admitted: “He’s fantastic, really fantastic. A lot of players get hot, but he’s got the moves, the patience, intelligence, the balance on his jumpers. He’s the real deal,” he said in a post game interview which he later shared in a tweet.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 11, 2013
Off the court, Lillard has also become an influential figure in Portland, doing great work with the community with an anti-bullying campaign. A promising talent on the court and a role model off it, the future looks bright for the youngster and he will hope that this is just the start of things to come.
The Trail Blazers star was an outright winner for the prestigious award, while Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards completed the top three.