Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is already a Damian Lillard fan

Count Dallas coach Rick Carlisle among the growing list in the NBA who are impressed with Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard.

Carlisle, whose Mavericks (2-1) face the Blazers (2-1) tonight in Dallas, called Lillard an “early Rookie of the Year candidate” after the point guard has opened the season with averages of 21.3 points, 9.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds in three games.

“He’s going to have that much impact on their team,’’ Carlisle said. “Plus, point guards have the abll more, so they are going to feature him even more. But I’m really impressed with his feel for the game. He has an air of confidence, and he does a really nice job involving his teammates. And his shooting ability - we haven’t seen a point guard come in like this that can shoot from 25-to-26 feet - easily - in some time.’’

– Reported by Jason Quick of The Oregonian