Mar 9, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) drives to the basket past Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley (2) during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Point Guard: Damian Lillard and Steve Blake vs. Patrick Beverley and Isaiah Canaan
Damian Lillard has emerged as one of the best young point guards in the game. In just his second pro season, he made an All-Star appearance. In his first, he captured the Rookie of the Year award. In the postseason, he proved he is a clutch performer.
And all the while, Patrick Beverley’s pestering defense proved to be little more than an annoyance to a much more talented point guard.
Lillard is stronger than Beverley and just as quick. He’s got the ball handling skills not to let Bev’s full court defense make much of an impact. While bigger guards like Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics have given Lillard problems, the diminutive Beverley just doesn’t bring that type of defense.
Backing up Lillard and Beverley, the Rockets may have a slight advantage in the second unit. Steve Blake is a capable passer and spot up shooter, but he’s not the defensive player he was earlier in his career. In his NCAA career at Maryland, he was a very good defensive player.
Now, it’s questionable whether he has the speed to contend with Isaiah Canaan. While Canaan is unproven as an NBA player, he is a proven scorer at both the NCAA and D-League levels. He’s a good shooter and playmaker.
However, the Blazers top-end talent at this position gives a decisive edge.