What a season this year was for Damian Lillard. After Portland Trail Blazers’ last playoff failure, many thought that they would fall off this season. Some early Power Rankings made before the start of the 2018-19 season have seen the Blazers only on the 10th place. Despite of all the chat about how bad was the team playing in that last post season, Damian Lillard came out balling since the beginning and never took the foot off the gas pedal, as he had the most minutes played in NBA, with 3,488. The next player was James Harden and he had with almost 200 minutes less than Lillard. This says a lot about Damian’s willingness to sacrifice for the team and not getting any „load management” breaks during the season, as many of the players have. He averaged 25,8 PPG, 4,6 RPG and 6,9 APG on 44,4 FG% while leading his team to the 3rd place in the West, when nobody expected them to rank that high at the end of the season.
The Blazers point guard continued his good performance in the playoffs, sending home their rivals, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in only 5 games. Again, this was way against all the odds, as every analysts around the NBA picked the Thunder to advance, some of them even saying that it will be a sweep. Lillard showed up and gave Westbrook a lesson, while hitting the series-winning buzzer-beater at the end of Game 5, making history in Portland once again. In the Western Conference Semifinals, Lillard and McCollum played great, giving all of us an example that the mid-range is not completely dead, and it can win games.
If you would’ve said at the start of the season that Portland will be playing the Western Conference Finals, a lot of, if not all the people would of laughed right in your face. And they got the last laugh, as Dame and the company ultimately got past the number 2 seed, the Nuggets, in 7 games, beating them in their home court. Even though they got swept by the Warriors, they over achieved their goals in this season, given the fact that they got swept by the New Orleans Pelicans in the First Round of last year’s playoffs. As for his playoffs averages, he had 26,9 PPG, 4,8 RPG, 6,6 APG and 1,7 steals-per-game, on 41,8 FG%. That’s a pretty good statline for a guy who wasn’t given any chance to be where he was at the end of this season. Because of all that, the Trail Blazers management staff have decided to give Lillard the supermax contract, that will give him $191 million in four years.