Blazers’ Lillard viewed as both underrated and overrated by NBA peers

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

Damian Lillard is arguably the greatest player in Portland Trail Blazers franchise history. If not the greatest, he’s certainly one of the most beloved.

Dame is at the center of an offseason likely filled with significant change in Portland. Should he stay or should he go? Do the Blazers have enough assets to acquire a second superstar to pair with Lillard and give him a real chance at a run toward an NBA title?

Portland fans almost universally love Dame, and the Trail Blazers may be willing to mortgage their entire future to show him the same loyalty he’s shown the organization.

Confusingly, though, opinions on Lillard from other players around the league are split.

Damian Lillard was voted as one of the most overrated and underrated players in the NBA

Sam Amick and Josh Robins of The Athletic put together an anonymous NBA player poll for 2023. In it, they asked questions such as, “Who should be the MVP?” and “Who’s the most overrated player?” and “Which coach would you most like to play for?”

Oddly, Lillard appeared on both the most overrated and most underrated players lists. He was one of six around the league to show up on both lists, in fact, alongside DeAndre Ayton, Tobias Harris, Jaren Jackson Jr., Austin Reaves, and Nikola Vucevic.

Which one of those things is not like the other?

Anyway, Dame earned 3.7 percent of the 54 votes cast for most overrated. His loyalty to Portland was both a pro and a con for one specific player:

"“(The Blazers) haven’t really won that much,” the player who voted for Lillard said. “I know he’s a great player individually, but … that’s what happens when you shoot that much. And then just over his career, he (hasn’t) won that much. It’s not his fault, in particular, but I just think he’s a little overhyped.”"

When it came to voting on the most underrated players in the league, Dame received 2.1 percent of 97 votes. One ballot-caster came to his defense, echoing a large chunk of the Trail Blazers fan base:

"“I don’t think he gets the credit that he deserves,” the player said. “Obviously, he’s hard headed in the way that (he’s decided) that, ‘I’m going to win here (in Portland). You guys are gonna come to me. I’m not gonna go to you, and I’m gonna try to win.’ (But) I respect that about him.”"

Also of note:

  • Moda Center received 1.9 percent of 103 votes as the arena with the best fans (16th in the NBA). It did not show up on the list of arenas with the worst fans.
  • On the question, “Which current coach, aside from your own, would you most want to play for?” Chauncey Billups was ninth with 3.2 percent of 95 votes.

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