Damian Lillard has been one of the best point guards in the league since being drafted by the Portland Trailblazers 4 years ago. The two-time All-Star and 21.4 career scorer, is one of the most underrated players in the game today. The fact that he plays in the Western Conference is understandable, because it's loaded with elite point guards. But he still deserves more national attention and respect around the league.
Do you remember, when he made the team as an All-Star replacement? I found that so disrespectful towards him. Don't forget how he carried his team to the playoffs, when everybody projected them as one of the worst teams coming into the league last season. Also while doing that, Lillard had a career year averaging 25.1 points and 6.8 assists.
Damian Lillard is a franchise player whose mentality reminds of Russell Westbrook, because of how competitive and prideful he is. Lillard has been quoted saying "he would never join a power team".
Now he may never join one (Kevin Durant also said that) because he's built from a different cloth, but I present to you 3 teams that could fit Lillard if he did choose to leave the Trailblazers.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have been an elite franchise for over a decade - they are elite from the owner, GM, and the head coach. But it's pretty much safe to say that, the big 3 era is over with the retirement of Tim Duncan.
San Antonio needs to make some changes, in order to challenge the likes of a Golden State-type of team. One of the positions the Spurs should look to upgrade is the point guard spot. Tony Parker will be 35 in May, and is on his last legs for sure. They're backup Patty Mills is not a starting caliber point guard either.
Damian Lillard and Aldridge have been reported of having interest with teaming up again in the future. They still have a pretty good team on the roster and a superstar type of player in Kawhi Leonard. The addition of Pau Gasol playing down low with Aldridge is something exciting to think as well.
I think adding Lillard would put the Spurs over the Cavs, in fact as the best threat to the Warriors right now. This is something the Spurs should really consider thinking about, if they want to seriously contend for a championship this season.
The Bucks are a young team with loads of potential and upside. In my opinion, they are the most athletic team in the league. They have been making huge strides as a team after years of struggling. If they can upgrade the point guard position, Milwaukee could become a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks could really use another scorer. They have players in their youth, with All-Star and maybe franchise potential in Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Those guys are capable of creating their own shots but are not good enough shooters to space the floor out for everybody else. The team also was, ranked in the bottom 10 for points scored per 100 possessions last season. Bringing in Lillard would put the Bucks over the top because he would help them space the floor while creating for himself and others.
Milwaukee played at the slowest pace in the league last season, and Lillard would speed that offense up and the scoring would definitely increase. The addition of Lillard would make the Bucks a power team in the Eastern Conference.
The Rockets have a franchise player in James Harden who they heavily depended on the offensive end of the ball. The point guard for Houston has been in constant flux , over the past couple of seasons. They traded for Ty Lawson during the off season last year, but that didn't work it very well. Patrick Beverley is a great defensive player but limited offensively. Imagine if the Rockets found a way to get Damian Lillard?
That would allow Houston to move Harden back to his natural position off the ball and give some of the responsibilities to Lillard. Harden would have a legit guard, who can help him control the load offensively. That would give Houston two elite players in the backcourt for Mike D'Antoni's system.
They would have a high powered offense no question, but Houston would still need to make some upgrades on the defense end. Last season they gave up 105.6 a game. Houston, adding Lillard would be very special to watch, but they would have to clean up some things on the defensive end for them to compete for a title.
He is just 26-years old and maybe is now easy to say - "I might have too much pride for that. Or, be too much of a competitor where I couldn't bring myself to do it." Dame also sees the positives in being an underdog, or the David to the super team's Goliath, adding, "It also makes it more it more fun. You get to take a monster down, and that's always fun."
But, I will remind you that LeBron left Cleveland after seven seasons and Kevin Durant left Oklahoma after nine seasons. Who knows what the future will look like for Damian Lillard and Portland Trail Blazers in the next few seasons.