Damian Lillard can’t elevate this team to a title this year and should be shut down
Franchise cornerstone Damian Lillard had returned to his standard form after a relatively slow start until being sidelined for six games from November 30 to December 12. After six games back in the lineup, he once again succumbed to the abdominal tendinopathy that has bothered him for several years now.
The team announced that Lillard would sit out at least through Sunday’s game with the Kings, which would give him a rest period of 11 full days before returning to face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
But there are zero reasons to bring him back. The Blazers won just twice in eight games last month with Lillard and just don’t have the right pieces around him to contend — especially with his longtime number two, CJ McCollum, out since December 4 with a punctured lung.
At the very least, benching Lillard for the season should quiet at least some of the outrageously dumb trade rumors flying around.
Lillard had been playing a team-high 36.4 minutes per game — way too much for a 31-year old who has played 772 games over 10 seasons. He needs a rest and the franchise would be best off to let him play unofficial assistant coach and general manager until workouts start again in the summer.