The REAL Reason Why Damian Lillard Is SO Good In The NBA (Ft. Dribbles, Deep Shots, IQ)
Damian Lillard has been so good this NBA season for the Trail Blazers, breaking NBA records, but why? #Dame #NBA #Deep3s
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Carmelo said we haven’t seen that in a long time and he’s right. Dame makes shooting 40 footers look ridiculously easy. Or when he dropped 61, then 47, then 51. And the best part is that the Trail Blazers win when Dame takes over.
There’s a lot of stats that show Damian Lillard has been great this season. He’s averaging 29.5 points and 7.9 assists on 46% from the field and 39.3% from 3. Through the first 44 games, he made more 30+ footers than any other player in NBA history did in a single season. He’s shot 42% on 30+ footers. It’s not a bad shot Paul George.
But there’s one very specific skill that allows and opens up the entire game for Dame and that is the force at which Lillard can dribble the ball. It’s the change of speed of the dribble that throws defenses off, especially behind the 3 point line. Dame can shoot from anywhere, which the defense is wary of so they are stepping up. Dame is only going to get small windows and he’s hunting for them. That hard dribble allows Dame to get the ball into the shot pocket so much quicker and shoot the ball off the dribble in the tiniest of windows. This is why Dame can shoot right as he’s using a screen in small space. Dame’s in sync with that dribble and rises with the ball on it’s way up leading to an effortless shot. It’s something we’ve seen Steph Curry do, but Dame’s force on the ball seems to be more. This leads a variety of hard dribbles like his sidestep shot that he did against the Thunder and against the Lakers, and just everywhere. \
While this allows Dame to shoot quickly, this doesn’t mean that a quick shot works all the time. Dame is able to recognize the slightest shifts in weight. A lot of good offensive players are great at reading players’ feet but Dame is good at making players ride to his rhythm.
While the intricacies and details of Dame’s playmaking are definitely more complicated, he makes it sound so simple and in reality it is for him. What he is doing is scanning the floor in a limited time when recognizing a double is coming and then making the best play from the information instead of just giving up the ball and hoping his teammates can do something from that. He’s putting his teammates in the best position to succeed. He’s patient. Also, PJ Tuckers was the center on the floor in this possession, the Rockets been ready for this no center lineup in January.
Playmaking isn’t the only way he’s getting past these double teams. Dame will still get his shots up because the defense is forced to double him up high or send help way above the three point line. Dame will open up one defender and then have all the space at the 3 point line to do whatever he wants. Because Dame is the best shooter from 35 feet, the defenses are spread extremely thin and this opens up rolls for Whiteside to go to the paint. In Dame’s triple double, 7 of those assists went to Whiteside. All of this is great, but perhaps the most important part of Dame’s game is his leadership. If Dame wanted, he didn’t have to stay especially after 4 of the 5 starters left 4 years ago, that’s just crazy but Dame’s continued commitment to the Trail Blazers, repeatedly saying he wants to build something there and doesn’t want to sell out.
If you look at the Trail Blazers, they are second in the league in isolations per game, but there is this dynamic of sharing the ball for isolations. The Rockets have 22.7 possessions of isolation of which Harden takes 14.3 so almost 66% and Westbrook takes 7.5 meaning 0.9 possessions of isolations are by all the other Rocket players combined.Meanwhile here’s a breakdown of the Trail Blazers, with only 11.6 isolation possessions for the team, Dame takes less than 50% and the offense gives room for others like Carmelo, Afernee Simmons, and Rodney Hood when he was playing. There are times where Dame defers to Carmelo for multiple possessions in a row. Dame and CJ have this dynamic relationship of just picking their spots.
So Damian Lillard is just a bad man, period. He can make any shot at any moment, he can create any shot he wants, and he’s going to do his best to lead whatever group of guys he has to a win. Remember, the Trail Blazers made the Conference Finals last year and that was behind the man Damian Lillard and he’s just been amazing this season in such a unique way, but what do you think? Can the Trail Blazers make the playoffs? Will Dame eventually win a championship?