David Aldridge, writer for NBA.com and "cousin" to our own LaMarcus, put together his Top 10 "must-watch" storylines heading into training camp
. He touches on how George Karl will find different ways to utilize Andre Iguodala, wanting to see Brandon Roy on the court again, and getting a full season out of Steph Curry among others. But with the NBA at his fingertips and a plethora of angles to pursue, what was his most anticipated story heading into the 2012-13 season? None other than our own Damian Lillard!
Can't Wait ... to see Damian Lillard play for the Blazers. Just have a feeling that the Blazers' first first-round pick is going to be a pretty dynamic player. He is a rarity in our 500-channel universe: a lottery pick that wasn't on TV five times a week at Weber State. He's going to be as exciting a first-year player as there is.
This coming on the heels of DIME magazine releasing their Top 10 players who they believe will shape the future generation of basketball
All the talk about the weak competition he faced in college dissipated as he absolutely destroyed his NBA opponents, dropping 23 points and seven assists in his debut, followed by 31 and seven, 27 and three, and 25 and four.
But Lillard’s place on this list isn’t so much about his basketball potential as it is his path to the NBA. It’s been a while since a truly small school produced such a high-caliber player, and nowadays it’s rare to see top players stay in school for more than two seasons. If Lillard does succeed in the league, he may give confidence and assurance to prospects considering smaller schools outside of the Big Six conferences, and let them know that staying for a few years of college doesn’t hurt either.
Needless to say, if expectations weren't high enough for the rookie out of Weber State, they are out of this stratosphere right now. But he'll have his shot right out of the gate to live up to the hype as the Trail Blazers take on the Lakers, Thunder, Rockets, Clippers, and Spurs in an 11-day span
to kick off the season. What that means for Dame is head-to-head matchups against Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Jeremy Lin, Chris Paul, and Tony Parker. That's only two Most Valuable Player awards and 19 total combined All-Star appearances between the group. No big deal. Talk about jumping into the deep end, feet first. But if any rookie is ready to take on the gantlet, it's Lillard. And like the media, Rip City can't wait to see what's in store.