Damian Lillard named rookie of the year

Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard, the Portland Trailblazers point guard has been crowned the NBA’s 2012-13 Rookie of the Year; the news was announced on Wednesday afternoon. The award has hardly come as a surprise and was probably the easiest to predict of the NBA awards that are currently being given out.

Lillard’s season has been one that has set him out among the rookies in the National Basketball Association and he can boast many best averages for rookies throughout the 2012-2013 season. This campaign the 22-year old has led all other rookies in scoring (19.0 ppg) and assists (6.5 apg), while his average of 38.6 minutes on the court was also a rookie high and incidentally the second highest mpg in the NBA.

Damian Lillard has become a quick favourite among the Trailblazers fans and is seen as the face of the franchise over the next few years. It has been a disappointing year for the Portland franchise overall but Lillard and All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge have been the shining lights and the leaders of the team.

Lillard’s award was all but assured after such a fine season and he won by unanimous decision, with all 121 votes picking him as the NBA’s 2012-13 Rookie of the Year. It means the player become just the fourth player in NBA history to claim the award by unanimous decision (the other being Blake Griffin in 2011, David Robinson in 1990 and Ralph Sampson in 1984). The guard also became Portland’s first rookie of the year since Brandon Roy in 2007 and ironically it is Roy’s presence in the back court that Lillard has replaced at Portland.

Certainly the award was deserved, but some have questioned the landslide that let Damian Lillard claim all first place votes. Certainly there is a case to be made for New Orleans Hornets power forward Anthony Davis who was first pick in the Draft and has enjoyed a fruitful first campaign in the NBA, while other players may be aggrieved that votes did not recognise their contributions.

It could be argued that Lillard (sixth pick in the Draft last year) is not the best player among the season’s rookies, but rarely is this award given on such criteria nor does it consider who may become the best player. Instead the NBA Rookie of the Year award has typically been given to the rookie who has had the biggest impact in the league, and with the amount of minutes on court and periods of the season when Lillard has been on everybody’s lips it is hard to look past a player who deserves his award.

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