These are some pretty tasty Damian Lillard highlights from the Blazers loss on Friday night at the hands of the Warriors.
Lillard essentially goes bonkers from distance, pulling up from long range time and time again and draining three-pointers as if they were 15-foot jumpers. He went 7-of-12 from behind the arc, and was 15-of-25 shooting on the night for a career high of 37 points.
Lillard played high school basketball in Oakland, and had family and friends in attendance for his first NBA game there. He came through in a big way, and it’s tough to disagree with LeBron James when he says that Lillard is the clear-cut Rookie of the Year to this point in the season.
Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.