Since we’re so early into the NBA season, we have been seeing a lot of early contenders for MVP. Usually at the beginning of every season, a few stars have a rough start and everyone asks the question, “What’s wrong?” or “Is (*insert name here*) officially on the downslide of his career?”. It’s the classic case of overreaction that is extremely common in sports media. One such player that has gotten this response has been Damian Lillard. Not only did the Portland Trail Blazers have the most disappointing offseason of any playoff team, but the normally sharpshooting point guard has had a subpar start to the season.
Lillard has averages this season of 20 PPG and 8.2 APG. For a normal starter in the NBA, these are solid stats. However, for a superstar that puts himself on the same tier as guys like Stephen Curry and James Harden, this is not where you want to be. His shooting percentages are awful too. Just a week ago, he was shooting 35% from the field and a paltry 23% from beyond the arc. This is not the man that we refer to as “Logo Lillard”. You can blame things on the changing of the basketball used in-game, or even the rule changes, but this downward slope shouldn’t be this significant for a franchise player of his caliber.
Don’t worry basketball fans, this is just the beginning. We here at Game Changer Sports Network are not nearly as worried. He can still become an MVP in this league.
Damian Lillard will inevitably get out of his slump. It’s only a matter of time and once again, he will be carrying the Trail Blazers into the playoff hunt. It’s just taking a little time to start off the season with a new coach, a new system, and a new team of role players that he can rely on even less than last year. Considering this, Lillard has a real shot at the MVP this year. First of all, the voters tend to stay away from superstars on super teams. If Kyrie Irving ever makes it back to the Brooklyn Nets, you can cross Kevin Durant off the list. Giannis Antetokounmpo already has two and will suffer from voter fatigue, just like LeBron James. You can cross him off the list as well.
In reality, the only real candidates are Jimmy Butler, a repeat win from Nikola Jokic, media darling Luka Doncic, and Stephen Curry after his hot start to the season.
Lillard can make up a lot of ground quick and what helps is the media narrative behind him. The aforementioned new coach and new system is big. The biggest signing they had in the offseason was Cody Zeller too. This means that Lillard arguably has less help than any star that I’ve already listed. If Lillard is able to catch fire soon and carry this team to similar numbers and/or wins that we are accustomed to, there’s a real chance that Lillard finally brings an MVP trophy home to Portland. If this doesn’t force that front office to get him help then I don’t know what will.
As electrifying as a player as Damian Lillard is, this might be his last shot to pull it off too. He’s not going to win a title this year with the team he has, but he can stuff his stats like crazy if he wants to. With the league as wide open as it is this season, this is the last opportunity he has to show people that the name “Damian Lillard” belongs among the elite of the league.
Featured Image Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports and AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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