Apr 14, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT
Portland’s resurgence from lousy to the playoffs has, not coincidentally, coincided with Lillard’s development. Lillard has taken the next step, going from Rookie of the Year to one of the NBA’s best guards, and taken the Trail Blazers with him.
But that doesn’t make Lillard perfect.
Is there a perception he’s treated as if he is?
But there is some concern inside the locker room that Lillard is not held to the same accountabilities that other players are. In other words, his mistakes are often either overlooked, or not held to the same examination as others.
That’s not to say there is raging discontent among the ranks when it comes to Lillard. From what I gather, he is respected deeply for his talent, his work ethic and his efforts at becoming a leader.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
A lot of times when you’re writing stuff, you know it, you just can’t reveal who it’s coming from.
If the Portland players respect Lillard’s work ethic and leadership – as they probably should considering how difficult it is to rise from Weber State to NBA All-Star – this sounds like an issue with Terry Stotts and/or Neil Olshey.
Whether Lillard is actually treated differently or some of his teammates just perceive that he is, the coach and/or general manager must address it. Everything is copacetic in Portland because the Trail Blazers are winning, but these are the kind of issues that get blown up during losing patches. See the Pacers.
This doesn’t sound like a problem now, but the Trail Blazers should take steps to avoid it becoming one.
- Coach K on Rose: “Derrick’s played great, not good, and hasn’t held anything back” 3
- Report: Anthony Bennett pulled from pro-am by agent, possibly due to his inclusion in Kevin Love trade talks 41
- Report: Sixers fighting against immediate changes to NBA Draft Lottery system 53
- Team USA going small ball, but how many bigs do they keep on the bench? 4
- Report: LeBron James more popular than he ever was with the Heat 14
- Durant says 2014 USA team better than 2010 version that won gold 6
- Kevin Durant knows you’re talking about his free agency but isn’t giving many clues. He liked what LeBron did. 17
- Byron Scott makes ridiculous optimism sound reasonable 44