Blazers’ Damian Lillard named Rookie of the Year in unanimous vote
The NBA announced Wednesday that Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been named the 2013 Rookie of the Year in a unanimous vote.
Lillard, 22, averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game for the Blazers, starting in all 82 games and leading the NBA in minutes played. Lillard led all rookies in points and assists while finishing as Portland’s second-leading scorer. He won the Western Conference Rookie of the Month award in all six months it was given and won the Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend.
A scoring point guard who spent four years at Weber State, Lillard was one of the few impact players from the 2012 NBA draft, distinguishing himself from other top performers like Hornets forward Anthony Davis and Wizards guard Bradley Beal by the consistency and sheer volume of his production. Lillard was as indispensible as he was reliable: the Blazers’ offensive rating sunk from 105 when he was on the court to an atrocious 93.5 when he was off the court.
Lillard is the fourth player in the history of the award to win it in unanimous fashion, joining Rockets center Ralph Sampson (1983-84), Spurs center David Robinson (1989-90), and Clippers forward Blake Griffin (2010-11). He beat out Davis, who finished with 96 second-place votes, and Beal, who finished with 14 second-place votes. Andre Drummond, Dion Waiters, Harrison Barnes, Chris Copeland, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jonas Valanciunas and John Jenkins also received votes.
Lillard is the fourth Blazers player to win the award, joining Geoff Petrie (1970-71), Sidney Wicks (1971-72) and Brandon Roy (2006-07). Petrie shared the award with Celtics center Dave Cowens.
The Blazers finished 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 33-49.