As expected, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard was voted as the NBA’s top rookie. Lillard, the sixth overall pick in last June’s draft out of Weber State, led all rookies with a 19-point scoring average. He also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, playing in all 82 games this season, and was voted unanimously.
Lillard had a superb rookie year, in which he broke Stephen Curry’s rookie record of most three pointers made in a season, with 185. He also became the third rookie to record at least 1,500 points and 500 assists, following Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson. Not to mention, Lillard was also named the league’s Rookie of the Month in all six months of the season.
Lillard’s unanimous win marked the fourth time in NBA history that it has happened. Blake Griffin was the last player to win the award unanimously just two years ago. Before that, David Robinson in 1990 and Ralph Sampson in 1984 held the honors.
Lillard had hopes to play in the NBA during his college years, but suffered a major setback when he broke his foot to start his junior season at Weber State. He redshirted, and came back the next season to earn All-American honors. He was voted the Big Sky’s Most Valuable Player.
When he let Weber State know he was going pro, Lillard announced his first goal was to win Rookie of the Year.
“I came out and I proved it up,” said the 6-foot-3 guard, who was proclaimed the team’s franchise point guard from the start by Blazers general manager Neil Olshey.
“I know that Damian’s best days are ahead of him,” Olshey said Wednesday. “This is the first step in a bright future.”
Lillard is the fourth Blazer to win the Rookie of the Year award, joining Geoff Petrie (1971), Sidney Wicks (1972) and Brandon Roy (2007).