Blazer Damian Lillard named 'Rookie of the Year'

Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

Blazer Damian Lillard named 'Rookie of the Year'


by Evan Sernoffsky, staff

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 1 at 6:59 PM

PORTLAND -- The NBA named Portland Trail Blazer Damian Lillard Rookie of the Year Wednesday afternoon.

The team hinted Tuesday that the 22-year-old Oakland native will be awarded the NBA’s top rookie honor.

On Wednesday the team said he was unanimously chosen for the top honor.

"With his work ethic and passion for the game, Damian's historic rookie season is the first step in what will be a long and distinguished NBA career," said Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey in a press release.

Lillard is one of only three rookies in NBA history, including Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson, to record at least 1,500 points and 500 assists.

The Blazers picked Lillard as the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He played four years at Weber State where he finished college as the No. 2 scorer in school history and the No. 5 scorer in the Big Sky conference history.

Lillard finished the regular season averaging a staggering 19 points, 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds, and swept all five of the Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors for the 2012-2013 season.

Photos: Trail Blazer Damian Lillard

Lillard is the fourth Blazer in franchise history to be named Rookie of the year, joining the ranks of Brandon Roy, Sidney Wicks and Geoff Petrie.

More: Complete Blazers coverage

“I am very proud of what Damian accomplished this season,” said Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts. “It is a testament to his talent, character and work ethic that he played at a very high and consistent level throughout his rookie season. Along the way, his name was mentioned along with some of the greats to have ever played in the NBA."

The Rookie of the Year Award provides a glimmer of hope for fans after a history of Blazer disappointments.

In 1984, the year following Portland’s brilliant No. 14 pick of Clyde Drexler, the Blazers passed on Michael Jordan, opting to choose big man and colossal flop Sam Bowie at No. 2.

It was déjà-vu when Portland chose injury-plagued Greg Oden as the No. 1 pick in 2007 over certain future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant.

Portland fans were already too numb to feel the sting when beloved Blazer Brandon Roy retired in 2011 with knee problems.

After a disappointing season where the Blazers failed to make the playoffs, it’s Lillard and the rest of the Portland rookies that keep Blazer fans from descending into complete despair.