Doolittle: Lillard Projects As 10th Best Point Guard In 2013-14
Bradford Doolittle over at ESPN.com is putting out his projections by position, with point guards being first on the list
. Doolittle uses a system he calls ATH (which is kind of hard to figure out, at least for this layperson) to project WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player
, which is used regularly to quantify a player's value) for the 2013-14 season. According to Doolittle, Damian Lillard's projected WARP puts him at No. 10 among NBA point guards.
10. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Projected 2013-14 WARP: 7.8
There is a school of thought that Lillard entered the NBA fully formed and that, as outstanding as he was in his rookie of the year campaign, Lillard is as good now as he's ever going to be. This is the season we begin to find out whether that's true. ATH projects that Lillard will take a significant step forward, with progress in shot selection and especially on the defensive end.
The usual suspects are ranked ahead of Lillard, though with a few notable exceptions like Tony Parker (he gets knocked by the system for being 32), Rajon Rondo, John Wall and Ricky Rubio. Seeing Kyle Lowry ranked No. 8 was a bit of a surprise, and I say that being a big fan of Lowry's game.
After watching Lillard closely for four days during the USA Basketball mini-camp, I feel real confident in saying you will see significant improvement from the 2013 Rookie of the Year. I'm guessing you see a better defender
and a more dynamic leader
when you see Lillard at the start of the 2013-14 season. Other people who know more about basketball than I agree with my assessment