Hidden Roots of a Comeback With Damian Lillard
In fact, Portland is actively contemplating switching him off of guarding point guards full time. The logic behind this move is clear - as I wrote yesterday, Lillard can't stay in front of people:
Except, who does Lillard check then? That cure might just be worse than the disease.
As an example, on Saturday the Blazers were in perfect position to dispatch a tired Toronto squad on the second night of a back-to-back (they had beaten the Nuggets in Denver the night before). The Raps had been listless and disengaged in the first half, with Portland holding a 17-point lead at the start of the third. But then, Toronto decided to test whether Lillard could actually guard fellow All-Star DeMar DeRozan. Spoiler alert: No. No he couldn't.
Toronto proceeded to run Lillard into the post:
Advantage was taken of his late rotations to help the helper:
Given the importance of Lillard's skill and moxie to Portland's offense, he has to be on the floor. But unless he can substantially improve on defense, you have to worry if his failings will always represent something of a hard ceiling on the potential of this particular Blazers roster.