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Report: Some Trail Blazers not convinced Damian Lillard held to same standards as teammates

Apr 14, 2014, 9:58 AM EDT

Damian Lillard, Kevin Cutler Damian Lillard, Kevin Cutler

Damian Lillard is the Trail Blazers’ youngest starter. He’s also arguably, with all due respect to LaMarcus Aldridge, their best starter.

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?

Jason Quick of The Oregonian:

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.

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I’m reminded of something Quick, one of the league’s top beat writers, once said:

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.

  1. shen90 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Quick is the most notorious Blazer hater. Not a single person in Portland reads him anymore because he is predictable and prone to lies and imaginary sources.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Apr 14, 2014 at 5:08 PM

      Welcome to LIFE IN THE NBA. If you’re a young bonafide superstar you get special treatment and have more room for error. See DeMarcus Cousins if you don’t believe me.

  2. bougin89 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    You could say this about any NBA star.

  3. 00maltliquor - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    You wanna be treated differently, then step your game up gd’mmit! Until then quit your sniveling and get in that gym and work overtime!

  4. bhunter1995 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Lillard isn’t better then Aldridge, Lillard is a great shooter but he isn’t a great pure point guard and he can’t finish at the rim (he shoots slightly below 40% at tge rim and his left hand is terrible). Aldridge is the second best power forward in the NBA who is a double double machine who can shoot out to 20 feet and score in the post.

    Also every star gets preferential treatment, you really think Melo, LBJ, Kobe, KD etc. gets yelled at by the coach for shooting poorly, committing a dumb foul or chucking a heat check?

    • bigmeechy74 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      Aldridge is not the second best PF in the league. nonsense. Anthony Davis, Kevin Love, Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin… So you are saying Aldridge is better than 3 of those guys? Ha. I’d rather have Ibaka than Aldridge

      • urodaddy07 - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        I see you haven’t really been watching basketball

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        you must just look at boxscores and have no understanding of any advanced stats. You probably think “wins” is the most important stat for pitchers too. munch

      • spursareold - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        I see you haven’t been watching Portland defensive possessions…

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        Anthony Davis is by far the most exciting and talented young player in the league. He is only 21 and already head and shoulders above aldridge. Zero GM’s would choose to have aldridge over him.

      • pharohislife - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        You can make a case for some of those guys but when you say Serge Ibaka is better than Aldridge you lose all credibility. Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and Anthony Davis are the only 3 you can put above him. But Aldridge is in that mix with them as well, those 4 are the Top Tier, then there’s a lower level of PowerFowards under them.

      • bigmeechy74 - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Ibaka is forced to take a backseat because he is the 3rd option and isn’t asked to score since they have durant. But when you factor in age and upside, I’d much rather have ibaka. I think NBA Gm’s would agree with me. But what do I know, I have no credibility

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      **4th best PF

  5. urodaddy07 - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    My one major criticism of his game is that Lillard jacks up too many long jump shots. He seems to have fallen in love with that. The league in general is leaning towards outside shooting though, and I think a lot of times that’s not great basketball.

    • spursareold - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:01 PM

      The league is leaning towards 3 point shooting because of advanced stats/analytics. If he’s jacking long twos, he’s going against the grain.

  6. hannsta - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Quick at it again. Hes not even a blazer beat writer anymore.

  7. csbanter - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Which star player isn’t held to the same standards ? Durant, Lebron, Harden, Dirk, they’re not getting fined for coming late to practice or doing some other team forbidden thing.

  8. realfootballfan - Apr 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Shocking, the star player who’s made your team 100% better is not held to the same standard as the scrubs on the team. Tell me more interesting things like why is the sky blue or grass green.

  9. andreboy1 - Apr 14, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Lillard is an awesome shooter but he is a terrible defender and finisher at the rim. Alridge is a better player at this point.

  10. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Defense. Lillard doesn’t play it. He & Harden are a huge liability to their teams on D. I can’t believe that doesn’t enter the conversation when we start comparing players. Aldridge by a mile in this one.

  11. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Considering the number of game-winners he’s hit, and the fact that he could go NBA Jam-mode at any time, you overlook a few mistakes. They’ll fade as time goes by.

  12. harshedmellow - Apr 15, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    At least the Blazers aren’t the Lakers.

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