Lunch: Damian Lillard is For Realsies

This year’s rookie class is full of surprises (AP/Michael Conroy)

Let’s set the record straight: some of us here at The OrangeWedge have a gambling problem. Well, it’s not quite a problem yet, but over the course of our sportsbetting educations, we may not always make the best decisions.

Let’s take a late night this past summer, where I was looking at NBA Future bets, specifically Rookie of the Year. Did I have a good knowledge about how this year’s crop of freshman would pan out? Absolutely not. But Austin Rivers was going off +1800, and for some reason it was looking sexy. “All the focus will be on Anthony Davis,” I told myself (I’m delusional). “Did you see his winner against UNC? The kid is real.” It’s safe to say my money is gone, as Rivers is averaging just 6 points in 23 minutes per game this season. A disappointing effort, but Rivers is 20 and he’ll have time to develop.

So who’s the Rookie of the Year? Right now, some kid from Weber State is the clear cut winner for an award that LeBron, Durant, and Chris Paul have all won in the past. Have you met Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard?

Damian Lillard grew up in Oakland, and I’ll let you write the next few sentences describing what a childhood in Oakland entails. The only difference is that Lillard’s father was a pillar in the community, keeping not just Damian out of trouble but other kids in the neighborhood as well. Despite positive influences and prep school success, Lillard was just a two-star recruit and received no major offers.

He ended up at Weber State, and spent the next three years taking dookies on the Big Sky conference. Check it out:

Bonus: Not only did Lillard post that video, another user commented with a question, and Lillard answered. What athlete does that? Lillard is also active on Twitter (@Dame_Lillard) and is constantly having giveaways and opportunities to interact with fans.

He finished his career as a Weber Wildcat 2nd in career scoring to the legendary Bruce Collins. Bruce, played for four years to Lillard’s 3, however, and went pro in 1980 where he was drafted by….wait for it…the Portland Trail Blazers. Feel free to geek out.

Lillard hasn’t transformed the Blazers with his presence  but his athleticism gives them a key piece to compete with the Westbrooks and Currys they see so often in the West. Lillard has the chops to be in their conversation, as he has quickly adapted to the speed of the game and can attack off the dribble effectively. There are not going to be any stats in this article (sorry, Daryl Morey), but know that barring injury, Lillard is your ROY. And he’s a good guy. And my Rivers bet is ruined.

Disagree? Let us know? E-mail us or tweet at us @TheOrangeWedge!

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