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Damian Lillard: Free From Portland At Last

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Damian Lillard is one of the best basketball players of all time. After playing his entire career in Portland, he was finally traded to the Milwaukee Bucks where he can finally contend for a championship. In this post, we will find out more about Damian Lillard. Let’s get started.

Damian Lillard: All You Need To Know

Damian Lillard: Player Profile

Damian Lillard is a prolific scorer who mainly scores through his incredible jump shot (which constitutes more than 70% of his shots), both at medium and long distances. Very complete in this area, he can score when receiving a pass, off the dribble (notably on pick and roll), and even in one-on-one situations where he manages to create sufficient space to open up a shot thanks to well-controlled step-backs or fadeaway jumpers.

His excellent shooting and shot creating skills, however, have a downside: Lillard tends to take difficult shots which makes his shooting percentages average. He is still one of the best shooters in the NBA, especially from the three-point range where he shoots a lot.

Lillard has always been quite good at penetrating as well, but it was especially in the 2015-2016 season that he became among the most skillful and best scorers in the league.

Defensively, Lillard takes good advantage of his physical assets (length, speed, power) even if he is generally rather inconsistent, the fault of irregular concentration and attention both in defense on the man (avoidable fouls, defensive postures, anticipation of screens, etc.) and away from the ball (does not always keep an eye on his opponent, rarely plays the passing lines, does not try to provide defensive assistance). More than a lack of ability, Damian Lillard usually suffers from a lack of interest on defence.

When did Damian Lillard sign his first big NBA contract?

During the summer of 2015, almost all of the Portland Trail Blazers’ best players were traded during free agency, such as Wesley Matthews to the Dallas Mavericks, LaMarcus Aldridge to the San Antonio Spurs, Nicolas Batum to the Charlotte Hornets, and Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo to the New York Knicks. Damian Lillard, on the other hand, remained in Portland. He also signed a new 6-year contract with the franchise worth 120 million dollars.

At the same time, new players arrived like center Mason Plumlee, full-back Gerald Henderson and swingman Maurice Harkless, but Lillard was the focal point in this reconstituted team. The start of the season allowed us to see the emergence of young players like Allen Crabbe and the rising star CJ McCollum, with whom Lillard will gradually build one of the game’s most dynamic duos. Through the course of the season, Damian Lillard firmly established himself as the franchise player, and the hero of the team.

When did Damian Lillard miss his first NBA game?

Lillard missed the first game of his career on December 21, 2015, due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The team, also without McCollum, lost to the Atlanta Hawks.

Upon his return from injury (7 games absence), he produced good performances, notably against the Oklahoma City Thunder where he scored 17 points in the 3 minutes and 7 seconds remaining before the end of the match allowing the Blazers to win 11.

Despite averaging 24.3 points on 42.1% shooting, fans and coaches did not select him for the 2016 All-Star Game.

On February 2, 2016, he reached the 6,000 career points mark. He is one of six players since 2003 to reach this milestone in their first four NBA seasons (along with Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin ).

On February 19, 2016, he recorded a new career high with 51 points against the Golden State Warriors. He made 9 out of 12 three point shots, matching the franchise record. On March 4, 2016, during the 117–115 defeat against the Toronto Raptors, he achieved his second game of the season with 50 points or more by scoring 50 points 

When did Damian Lillard pass Jim Paxson?

To start the 2016-2017 season, Lillard scored 39 points (13/20 shooting), accompanied by 9 rebounds and 6 assists in a victory for his team against the Utah Jazz  During this match, he became the 6th best passer in the history of the Portland Trail Blazers, surpassing Jim Paxson.

Four days later, he scored 37 points against the Denver Nuggets and also scored the game-winning shot in overtime.

On November 2, against the Phoenix Suns, he scored 27 points, becoming the first player, since Kobe Bryant in 2005, to score at least 27 points during his first five regular season games. Additionally, Lillard’s 163 points over his first five games is a record for a Portland player to start the regular season.

Two days later, Lillard scored 27 of his 42 points in the second half in a victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

With 38 points on November 8 against the Phoenix Suns, Lillard had scored 262 points over the first eight games of the season (a record in franchise history). This was the most points scored in the first eight games of the regular season since Kobe Bryant in 2009.

How was Damian Lillard’s 2019-2020 season?

On November 8, he scored 60 points in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets. This new mark matched the franchise record.

On January 20, 2020, he broke his career points record with 61 points scored against the Golden State Warriors. Beyond his personal best, it was also his franchise’s record for points scored. Shortly after, he recorded his first career triple-double on January 29, 2020, in a game against the Houston Rockets. He finished the game with 36 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Between the end of January and the beginning of February, Lillard scored an average of 48.8 points per game over 6 games with an insane 57% three-point shooting percentage. He was selected for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, but was unable to participate in the game due to injury.

The 2019-2020 season was stopped in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It resumed in July in the “Orlando bubble” and in eight games, Lillard scored on average 37.6 points to lead the Blazers to the playoffs. On August 11, he scored 61 points, tying his career high, in a 134–131 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. This was his third game of at least 60 points of the season, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players in league history to achieve this performance in a season. He was then named MVP of the bubble. His team was nevertheless eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the bubble champions Los Angeles Lakers, in five games.

How was Damian Lillard’s 2020-2021 season?

In the first round of the 2021 playoffs, the Blazers faced the Denver Nuggets. Lillard put in some impressive performances. In the fifth game of the series, he scored 55 points and set a new record for the number of three-pointers made in the playoffs with 12 (out of 17 attempted), breaking the previous record of 11 field goals set by Klay Thompson. The Blazers, however, lost this game in overtime, eventually losing the series 2-4. Lillard also set a record for the number of three-point baskets scored during a playoff series with 35. He is also one of four players to score more than 200 points and dish out more than 60 assists in a playoff series (along with LeBron James, Jerry West, and Oscar Robertson ).

Why did Damian Lillard miss most of the 2021-2022 season?

Damian Lillard underwent surgery in mid-January 2022 for a groin injury and missed the rest of the season. He played a total of 29 matches. The Blazers had a terrible season and sent CJ McCollum to the Pelicans in a trade.

In July, Lillard signed an extension of his contract (which runs until 2025) for the 2025-2026 and 2026-2027 seasons and $122 million.

How was Damian Lillard’s last season with the Blazers?

On January 25, 2023, he scored 60 points in a victory against the Utah Jazz, this was the 4th time in his career that he had reached this mark. On February 26, 2023, he broke his career points record with 71 points including 13 three-pointers (career record) scored in a victory against the Houston Rockets and became the third player in history to score at least 60 points at least 5 times in his career alongside Wilt Chamberlain (32) and Kobe Bryant (6). He established two records for the Trail Blazers, for the number of points scored and the number of three-point baskets scored

Where was Damian Lillard traded?

After a seemingly never ending trade saga, Damian Lillard was finally moved out of Portland via a three team trade involving the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. Weeks before the trade, the speculation was rife about Damian Lillard ending up in Miami. However, that trade rumour fizzled out eventually. As a part of the blockbuster three team trade, the Milwaukee Bucks received Damian Lillard, the Phoenix Suns received Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and the Portland Trail Blazers received Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, 1st round pick of 2029, and 2 pick swaps.

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