Although ranking the top 30 NBA players in today’s game is an incredibly difficult task, The Last Word on Pro Basketball staff has taken it on. Coming in at number eight in the countdown is Portland Trailblazers’ guard Damian Lillard.
Top 30 NBA Players
Number 8 – Damian Lillard
When Lillard first entered the league back in 2012, many predicted he would be one of the top guards in the league one day. Since day one, Lillard has proved them right and has gone far beyond that. He immediately became Portland’s star player and gave them hope for the future. While he hasn’t won Portland a title yet, he has led them to six straight playoff appearances and has proven that they aren’t a team to be taken lightly.
Lillard is currently averaging 28.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game on the season and was named to the fifth All-Star team of his career. His stellar play has him in the running to be named to the All-NBA First Team for the second time in his career.
Lillard is a dual-threat in today’s NBA as he is an incredible all-around player. His game will always be predicated on his elite scoring ability. He is one of the most prolific playmakers in the entire NBA and is a threat to score from just about anywhere on the court. Lillard uses his elite burst and athleticism to drive into the paint and convert at an efficient rate. Playing off of him would be an even bigger mistake as Lillard is one of the league’s premier sharpshooters. His limitless range and shot-creating ability make him a nightmare to defend.
Defensively Lillard isn’t one of the NBA’s best players, but he certainly isn’t a liability. He is still very respectable in many facets of his game. Lillard plays with a solid blend of physicality and technique to limit his opponents. At just 6’2″ he still manages to get over four rebounds per game due to his impressive vertical.
There aren’t many players in the NBA who possess greater passing ability than Lillard. He averages over 6.5 assists per game in his career, and his numbers have risen this season. Lillard has gained a reputation for being one of the most clutch players in the league. When the game is on the line he takes it upon himself to win the game.
Offensively there are virtually no weaknesses in Lillard’s game. Defensively, however, that is a different story. While he isn’t a liability he doesn’t excel here. At just 6’2″ he is smaller than the prototypical guard which opponents use to their advantage. He can handle some of the lesser name players in the league, but top tier guards will still give him a tough time.
Damian Lillard Career Accolades
Over his eight-year career, Lillard has obtained some pretty impressive career accolades. In his first season, he showed that he was here to stay as he was named the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year as well as being named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Lillard has been named to five All-Star teams in his nine-year career while being snubbed out of several others.
Since 2016, Lillard has proven that he is a top-three point guard in the NBA. He was named to the All-NBA First Team back in 2018. Lillard has also been named to the All-NBA Second Team twice in his career as well as an All-NBA Third Team selection back in 2014. He has only gotten better over time, and will likely acquire many more career accolades before his career is over.
Last Word on Pro Basketball Top 30 NBA Players Ballots
We believe in full transparency in the top 30 NBA player rankings so we are going to disclose the ballots of our player rankings and where each contributor had each player ranked.
Tyler Marling – Site Manager – 9th
Chase Gage – Managing Editor – 10th
David Knight – Marketing Manager – 9th
Zack Kircher – Associate Editor – 6th
Matthew Waldman – Associate Editor – 8th
David Ward – Associate Editor – 7th
Avinash Chauhan – Contributor – 9th
Adam Zigner – Contributor – 9th
Albert Dadson – Contributor – 9th
Dylan Guest – Contributor – 9th
Raheem Bashir – Contributor – 23rd
Nathan Levine – Contributor – 8th
Bill Huan – Contributor – 9th
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