The Portland Trailblazers are four games below .500 and are currently ranked 12th in the Western Conference standings. If the postseason were to start today, they would be on the outside looking in on the NBA’s annual play-in tournament. Simply put, the team is far from title contention and doesn’t appear to be headed in that direction anytime soon.
The team has a transcendent superstar at the point guard position, Damian Lillard. In addition to being a perennial All-Star and the newly crowned 3-point Contest Champion, Lillard recently scored 71 points in a single game, solidifying his status as one of the most explosive offensive talents in league history. While Lillard is unquestionably a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the best accolade that an all-time great can add to their resume seems to be alluding to him: NBA Champion.
Damian Lillard is in the prime of his career. At 32 years old some fans are wondering out loud if he should leave the Portland Trailblazers.
Over the years, there have been a lot of great NBA players who have finished their careers without championships. Names like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Reggie Miller, along with many others, are often associated with this narrative. There is often a distinction in discussions about great players based on those who won titles versus those who did not. For example, whenever Dirk Nowitzki is talked about, the first topic fans bring up is his epic 2011 playoff run that culminated in an NBA Championship and a Finals MVP. He would be a Hall of Famer without that amazing stretch of play, but that postseason forever solidified his greatness.
Like any other great player, Dame Lillard wants the chance to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy and experience the euphoria of winning basketball’s ultimate prize. Many fans believe he will have to leave Portland in order to do so. Let’s take a closer look at whether or not the Portland Trailblazers are wasting the prime years of their superstar point guard’s career.