Reports are circulating that Damian Lillard is set to receive the Rookie of the Year award today in Portland. After the end of the season, we asked our writers who their pick for the award was. These are their responses:
Jack Maloney (@jmaloney9) – Damian Lillard
At the beginning of the season, many people expected Anthony Davis to run away with the Rookie of the Year Award. But a series of injuries limited the big man to just 64 games. So in stepped Damian Lillard. The point guard out of Weber State was relatively unknown coming into the season. His performance this year quickly changed that however. He averaged 19 points, 6.5 assists a night, while playing all 82 games and logging the most minutes in the league. He also won the Western Conference Rookie of the Month award every single month of the season. Anthony Davis may end up being the better player moving forward, but for this season, the most impressive rookie was the Trail Blazer’s Damian Lillard.
Reece Hooker (@ReeceJHooker) – Anthony Davis
Hold the pitchforks, Portland! I’m almost certain Damian Lillard will sweep this award but I’m convinced that despite the big games and poise, Lillard deserves to come second in this vote. Lillard gathered steam early in the year, leading the Blazers to a fast start while Anthony Davis struggled to stay on the court with injury. But by the end of the season, Davis has managed a credible 64 games which I believe has given us enough of a picture to crown him the best rookie in 2012-13. The biggest issue is defense – Lillard is abhorrently bad at stopping his opponent, while Davis is fantastic. Of course, Lillard’s strength is offense. But even then, he only edges the first overall pick in that category. Putting aside Lillard’s inefficiency, he only narrowly outscores Davis when statistics are adjusted to per 36 minute pace (17.8 vs 16.9). Chuck in Davis’ 10 rebounds a game and 2 blocks at 36 minute pace, and you can’t go past the ‘brow for Rookie of the Year.
Quentin Haynes (@Haynesenburg) - Anthony Davis
Here’s the thing: Damian Lillard has looked great, and arguably increased the ceiling of Portland’s to unknown heights. However, Anthony Davis has been pretty good in New Orleans, and no one has seen it. To be honest, I wasn’t even hip to Davis’ work in New Orleans until this past week. He’s 9th in block percentage, he’s the only true defender for the Hornets, and when he was hurt, New Orleans has struggled. I’m giving Davis the ROY, even though Lillard has stood out more.
Vijay Shravah – Damian Lillard
This has long been a foregone conclusion, though I don’t think the likely runner-up, Anthony Davis, was as far behind as others. Regardless, Lillard has been given the ultimate green light by Terry Stotts and the Trailblazers. Leading the team in minutes per game, Lillard has had the free reigns – more so than any other rookie this year – to run this team. Even with LaMarcus Aldridge having a breakout All-Star season, Portland is fully invested in developing Lillard as their new franchise player.
Sonny Giuliano (@SonnyCG) – Damian Lillard
It was a pretty disappointing field of rookies this year, but Blazers point guard Damian Lillard just about made up for it. Lillard, the relative unknown from Weber State has made an early splash in his NBA career and garnered big time endorsements from LeBron James “I just think of how under control he is. It’s like he’s been here before. He’s never out of his comfort zone. He’s never too fast. He’s never too slow. He plays in his own lane. His ability to shoot the ball and his ability to drive the ball makes him a threat” and Kobe Bryant “He was out there cooking with gasoline tonight. He was fantastic”, and those sources are much more credible than me.