Blazer Banter

Elhassan: Damian Lillard could be top-five player in 2018

With a shortage of meaningful basketball being played, the NBA blogosphere has been filled with player ranking lists. Some of which, have caused a stir among some NBA players.

One of the more prominent lists is ESPN’s NBA Rank, which reached its conclusion today as we approach the start of the regular season.

One of ESPN’s NBA insider writers, Amin Elhassan, wrote an article today on their website looking at 10 players who could crack the top-five in five years. Portland’s Damian Lillard was one of those players to crack the list.

Elhassan writes about Lillard:

The reigning rookie of the year is just 23, so expect his game to refine with age. Already a dangerous threat in the pick-and-roll with one of the league’s deadliest step-back jumpers, Lillard must continue to attack the basket and get to the free throw line more often. A big part of his efficiency numbers can be traced to theenormous burden he had to shoulder¬†for the Blazers last season. With improved depth, particularly in the backcourt, the hope is Lillard can conserve more energy and focus on efficiency. Five years from now, he’ll be in the prime of his career with a more developed arsenal, and will be in the running as one of the best point guards in the game.

The list includes Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Indiana’s Paul George, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis among others. Elhassan also gave honorable mention to two college players, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Kentucky’s Julius Randle.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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