Damian Lillard is not lacking for confidence. The presumptive Rookie of the Year reflected on breaking an NBA rookie record for 3s on Monday, and said his aims are much higher.
“I think I can be a first team All-NBA, I think I can be an All-Star, I think I can be an MVP,” Lillard told CSNNW.com. “That's just my opinion. I don't know when, but how I plan to work and how much better I want to be, I feel like anything is possible.”
Lillard made it clear he wasn't saying he was those things right now. And that's pretty standard confidence stuff. But from Lillard, you can tell it's not just lip service.
Can the kid get there?
It's a pretty steep climb. After Kyrie Irving's rookie season in 2011, you knew that (if healthy), he was going to be a top player in this league. He runs the pick and roll exceptionally well for a 20-year-old, he can shoot behind the screen, and he showed better passing ability than his assists showed.
Lillard dominated this rookie class and showed a propensity to take and make tough shots, and his passing is probably underrated. But the athleticism most of the previous MVP winners had hasn't been seen from him. That doesn't mean he won't get there. It just means there's a pretty sharp curve for him. Consider that Chris Paul, obviously Lillard's top-most of the top-most ceiling, has never won MVP.
Such is the burden of the point guard.
For now, we can look back at a stellar rookie year and realize that maybe the bigger thing than any individual award Lillard might have in his future is he's set to earn the most important thing of all: wins.