damian lillard

The NBA will release its monthly individual honors today  and Lillard, the Blazers’ electric, do-it-all rookie point guard, almost certainly will win the league’s Rookie of the Month award. After 16 games — which factored into the league’s decision — Lillard led all rookies in scoring (18.4 points per game), assists (5.9), steals (1.38), field goals (102) and minutes played (36.8), while ranking 11th in rebounding (3.1) and fourth in free-throw shooting percentage (83.9).

His first month in the NBA was so dynamic, so polished, Lillard’s lofty statistical accomplishments regularly drew comparisons to some of the best players in NBA history. Players like Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas, Allen Iverson. It started on opening night, when Lillard had 23 points and 11 assists in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming just the third player in NBA history to record at least 20 points and 10 assists in a debut. Robertson and Thomas are the others.

One accomplishment after another followed in the next 15 games. After three games, Lillard became just the second player, along with Robertson, to record at least 20 points and seven assists. He’s the second player in franchise history to score at least 20 points in his first three NBA games, joining Geoff Petrie. And Lillard became the first player since Allen Iverson in 1996 to register at least 295 points and 94 assists over his first 16 games.

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian