Every year, the race for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player road proves to be a winding road full of twists and turns. Every season starts with varying opinions of who will probably end up with the NBA’s most coveted award on their mantle by the end of the season.
But like most seasons, the injuries have sidelined some of the league’s best players. While players like LeBron James and Joel Embiid were once the top contenders in the MVP race, injuries that will have them sidelined indefinitely have pretty much taken their names out of the running.
So, with the big names out of contention, it’s time we look at a player who continues to prove he more than deserves to be in the conversation for MVP. It’s Dame’s time.
No matter what team you claim as your favorite, it’s hard to deny the fact of the matter. Portland Trail Blazer guard Damian Lillard is a literal beast. There are a handful of reasons why Damian Lillard should win MVP this year, but let’s narrow them down to five.
The Trailblazers are currently 5th in the Western Conference.
Fifth place may not seem like something to brag about but keep in mind the Western conference is very competitive and very close. At the moment, the Trailblazers hold a record of 29-19. In addition, they are a game out from 4th place and 1.5 games out from 3rd place. With Lillard being an integral part of Trailblazers’ success, it’s hard to say they would be in the same position without him.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 7, 2021
Lillard’s stats this season are crazy good.
Let’s start with his team stats. Lillard is averaging 29.8 points per game and is currently the team leader. He also leads his team in assists per game with an average of 7.8. On top of leading his team in points per game, he leads the league in scoring with 1,375 points scored as of tonight.
He continues to be reliable at the free-throw line, making 94 percent of his attempts which lands him in second place in the league. Some of Lillard’s other impressive stats include being third in three-pointers made and sixth in player efficiency and offensive rating.
Three words. 50. Point. Game.
Another one of Lillard’s impressive stats that deserves to be highlighted is his 50-point game on March 17. Not only did he score a whopping 50 points, Lillard did so on 20 shots. Before Lillard revved into what is commonly known as “Dame Time,” the Trail Blazers were down 17 points.
By the end of the game, Dame had played 41 minutes, made all 18 of his free throws, handed out 10 and scooped up six rebounds. To add to his explosive game, Dame scored 20 of his 50 points in the last quarter.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 6, 2021
Lillard is the definition of clutch.
Dame’s latest 50-point game adds another notch on the list of reasons why Lillard is considered to be one of the most clutch players in the NBA. According to US Weekly, the NBA defines clutch time as the last five minutes of the game with a point difference of five or fewer. With 57 points, Lillard leads the league in points scored within the last five minutes of the game.
Lillard has been bankable from the free-throw line when it’s time to deliver. The thing that sets Lillard out from the rest during clutch situations is his confidence. When he’s locked in and ready to push his team to a win, you can see it on his face. He is never intimidated. He makes calculated shots with no fear or hesitation. Lillard absolutely thrives under pressure.
Lastly, it’s his time.
In the past 10 years, there have been six different MVP winners. Lebron James, Stephen Curry, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have all won the award twice. Rounding out the list is Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. Don’t get me wrong, they all had phenomenal seasons and deserve to win but honestly, I’m ready to see a fresh face holding that trophy.
The closest Lillard has gotten to winning MVP is being dubbed the “Bubble MVP” during last season’s unconventional seeding games and playoffs. It’s time to recognize Lillard’s undeniable talent with this season’s NBA MVP award.
Featured Image: Damian Lillard and adidas Basketball officially unveil Dame 6. The latest edition of Dame’s signature line. Photo credit: adidas