How good will Damian Lillard be?
The Blazers drafted Lillard No. 6 overall in June, proclaimed him their franchise point guard and immediately penciled him into the starting lineup. Sky-high expectations for the rookie out of Weber State have only increased since. He earned NBA Summer League MVP honors, averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds in four games, and has become a mainstay on preseason Rookie of the Year shortlists.
As the Blazers slog through what promises to be a long season of rebuilding, Lillard’s development and evolution should be the biggest story line. Will he live up to the hype? Will he fulfill expectations and justify general manager Neil Olshey’s faith and owner Paul Allen’s investment? Will he lay the groundwork toward becoming the face of the franchise in the post-Brandon Roy era?