Damian Lillard is the Trail Blazers’ youngest starter. He’s also arguably, with all due respect to LaMarcus Aldridge, their best starter.
Portland’s resurgence from lousy to the playoffs has, not coincidentally, coincided with Lillard’s development. Lillard has taken the next step, going from Rookie of the Year to one of the NBA’s best guards, and taken the Trail Blazers with him.
But that doesn’t make Lillard perfect.
Is there a perception he’s treated as if he is?
But there is some concern inside the locker room that Lillard is not held to the same accountabilities that other players are. In other words, his mistakes are often either overlooked, or not held to the same examination as others.
That’s not to say there is raging discontent among the ranks when it comes to Lillard. From what I gather, he is respected deeply for his talent, his work ethic and his efforts at becoming a leader.
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A lot of times when you’re writing stuff, you know it, you just can’t reveal who it’s coming from.
If the Portland players respect Lillard’s work ethic and leadership – as they probably should considering how difficult it is to rise from Weber State to NBA All-Star – this sounds like an issue with Terry Stotts and/or Neil Olshey.
Whether Lillard is actually treated differently or some of his teammates just perceive that he is, the coach and/or general manager must address it. Everything is copacetic in Portland because the Trail Blazers are winning, but these are the kind of issues that get blown up during losing patches. See the Pacers.
This doesn’t sound like a problem now, but the Trail Blazers should take steps to avoid it becoming one.