Linked below is a great piece produced by SB Nation in early March on how Damian Lillard’s leadership has powered the Portland Trail Blazers to an unexpected playoff appearance. There’s some really good stuff in here about Lillard elevating his leadership following LaMarcus Aldridge’s free agency departure to the preseason trip to San Diego Lillard organized for his teammates.
“I think he’s playing the same way he always has,” coach Terry Stotts told me. “He has more responsibility and he’s taking more on his shoulders. We knew his numbers would be up. More than anything else is his leadership. When we lost seven in a row he never wavered. Everybody talks about elevating his game, I think he’s elevating the team.”
“His role is different this year than it has been in the past,” Stotts continued. “Much like C.J., now it’s his time because he’s put himself in position to be successful. Same thing with Dame. The first three years put him in a position where he understands the league, he understands team dynamics and it’s just time to be in that role.”