On Thursday morning my friend Brady told me that Damian Lillard was overrated. We had a debate about both of our opinions. Brady’s argument was that Lillard hasn’t been leading the Trailblazers to the record they should necessarily be at. For a team that was in the western conference finals last year, and didn’t really get significantly worse, a 14-21 record (as of 1/3/20) is disappointing to say the least. I can understand where he’s coming from with the whole team success piece, but we also have to take into account that the talent of several teams in the west increased significantly, which naturally makes it harder for the Blazers to win games. Also we don’t have to overrate Dame because his team is under-performing.
Take Karl-Anthony Towns for example. The Timberwolves are just a little worse worse than the Blazers, and Towns is still killing it so we don’t say he’s overrated, even if he could be leading the Wolves to more wins. Lillard isn’t having a down season by any means, so he shouldn’t be called overrated because his team isn’t performing well, but his personal performance hasn’t changed in the past couple seasons. Now the lack of team success could be a leadership situation with either of the two players, but that doesn’t affect how we analyze on-court performance.
Lillard’s level of play hasn’t taken a hit from last season to this season either, take a look at the comparison of his stats from last year through this season, which is about halfway over.
The stats are pretty similar from the two years, and it’s not a bad thing to see that he didn’t greatly improve. Especially taking into account that he is 29, and has probably hit is prime at this point in his career.
To answer if he’s overrated, we have to think about how we rate him. NBC Sports Boston, The Washington Post, and CBS Sports ranked Damian Lillard at 12, 8, and 9 respectively in terms of best players in the NBA. These rankings were all done before the season. Now I can understand that Dame has not been a top 10 player in the NBA this year, but that’s just me looking at what 3 sports writers had to see. We think of Lillard as an all-star point guard, and a top 5 point guard in the league, and this season he is definitely last. Huge shoutout to Brady for posing this question to me, feel free to let me know your thoughts.
Brady’s IG: @bradyperlz