The Las Vegas Summer League means very little to its highest-profile participants. Any young player or rookie with a guaranteed NBA job won't prove anything until the regular season starts in the fall — that's just the way things work when a guy has expectations placed on him. Nevertheless, a player can still serve notice that he's worth watching out for, or that the potential we heard about in the run-up to the draft stands a decent chance of being fulfilled.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, the sixth pick in June's draft, has been one of those impressive players in this summer's league. In three games, he's averaged 27.3 points, 4.7 assists (vs. an admittedly poor 4.3 turnovers, and four rebounds. More than that, though, it's been the quality of his play: the vision, the athleticism, the confidence, etc. To get a sense of just what Lillard has shown, watch the clip above, in which he dunks on Keith Benson of the Atlanta Hawks.
Again, there's no guarantee that Lillard will be a star in Portland, or even that he'll be an above-average point guard. Vegas has seen plenty of players look fantastic over the last decade only to disappoint when the games start to matter. But even if there's every reason to stay wary about Lillard's career prospects, it's also easy to get excited about seeing what he can do this fall against the best backcourt players in the league. At the very least, he's gotten people's attention.
- Sports & Recreation
- Damian Lillard
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Las Vegas Summer League