The NBA season is beginning to wind down, and Damian Lillard is one player that’s been turning heads with his incredible performances this year. With the season nearing its end, many people are beginning to speculate about who will make the All-NBA First Team, and it’s hard to argue against the fact that Lillard deserves a spot on this year’s team.
First and foremost, Lillard has been an absolute scoring machine this year, averaging an impressive 32.4 points per game, third-best in the NBA. He’s been so consistent that he’s scored 20 or more points in 50 of the 56 games he’s played this season.
His 71-point game was the most efficient 70-point game of all-time and just one of three 70-plus-point games since Kobe Bryant scored 81 in 2006. This level of scoring dominance is unmatched by most players in the league.
Lillard’s contributions to the Blazers this season go beyond just his scoring, though. He’s also been a key playmaker for his team, averaging 7.3 assists per game.
In addition, he’s been a reliable rebounder, averaging 4.7 rebounds per game, showcasing his ability to impact the game in multiple ways. His team leadership is unparalleled, and he’s kept an injury-plagued, poorly coached, and very young Blazers team in the play-in conversation all season.
One of the most impressive things about Lillard’s performance this year is his consistency. He’s played in 55 out of the 69 games this season, and in each of those games, he’s been a force to be reckoned with. He’s been the focal point of the Blazers’ offense and gets double-covered when Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons are off the floor.
When comparing Lillard’s stats to other potential All-NBA First Team candidates, such as Luka Doncic, Steph Curry, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, it’s clear that Dame has been one of the top performers in the league this season. Lillard’s consistent scoring and all-around play give him the edge over all of these players, with the exception of Doncic.
Doncic’s dominance will likely earn him an All-NBA First Team spot, which leaves Lillard, Curry, and SGA vying for the other. Lillard has the edge over each deserving player.
Lillard has scored more points per game and played more games than Curry, earning a 9.3 win share, the same as Doncic and nearly three higher than Curry’s 6.4. Lillard has SGA beaten by nearly 2 assists per game and has had more “wow” games.
SGA’s highest-scoring game was 46 points, which Lillard has eclipsed three times. SGA has been more consistent, but he’s also had a better supporting cast. Lillard’s dominant season is punctuated by grander performances, which should give him an edge.
There’s no denying that Lillard has had an outstanding season so far. His consistent scoring, playmaking ability, and impact on the Blazers’ otherwise inconsistent team make him a strong candidate for this year’s All-NBA First Team. While other players are having great seasons, Lillard’s performance this year deserves to be recognized as one of the best in the league.