This Is When the NBA Finds out About the Real Damian Lillard

August 11th, 2015 by Grant Hughes Leave a reply »

Despite a superstar profile and plenty of early-career accolades, Damian Lillard hasn't yet shown the NBA who he truly is.

This year, stripped of a supporting cast and saddled with unquestioned alpha status, he will.

Lillard is all that remains of a Portland Trail Blazers starting unit that won a combined 105 games over the past two seasons. LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez vacated the state of Oregon via free agency, and Nicolas Batum was sent away in a trade to the Charlotte Hornets. Now, players who are young, unproven or both surround Lillard in their place.

In the press conference announcing Lillard's five-year, $120 million extension, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey called the contract a "hell of a place to start." Portland gutted the house, and Lillard, the foundation, is all that's left. We'll soon see if he's sturdy enough to build on.

At first blush, it seems like there should be no question about Lillard's fitness as a cornerstone. He was the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year, a two-time All-Star, a max-contract recipient and a remarkably re ...

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