Damian Lillard Has Already Passed Larry Bird and Is About to Pass Michael Jordan in the NBA Record Books
Whether Damian Lillard is starting next season for the Portland Trail Blazers or someone else, he will be one of the best players in the NBA.
Lillard has had a phenomenal nine-year career, complete with six All-NBA selections and six All-Star appearances. However, the elusive championship has always kept the 31-year-old from being mentioned amongst the greats.
Still, Lillard will enter his tenth season on the verge of passing several NBA legends in the record books, including none other than Michael Jordan.
Damian Lillard has been one of the most consistently dominant stars in the NBA
Regardless of whether the Trail Blazers win or lose, fans can count on Lillard to put on a show.
After being selected by Portland sixth overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, it didn’t take long for the former Weber State Wildcat to make an impression. Lillard averaged 19.0 points and 6.5 assists per game, while starting all 82 games, en route to winning the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
In year two, Dame upped his season average to 20.7 points and made his first All-Game team. By his fourth year in the NBA, Lillard was averaging 25 points. Fast-forward to 2019-20, when Lillard set career-highs of 30 points and eight assists per game, while also becoming a 40 percent shooter from beyond the arc.
His playoff performances are something to behold as well, highlighted by a 55-point showing last postseason against the Denver Nuggets. In the double-overtime loss, Lillard became the first player in NBA playoff history to score 55 points with double-digit assists. He also hit 12 threes, another NBA playoff record.
Lillard has passed Larry Bird in the record books … and is about to pass Michael Jordan
While Lillard’s career is about to hit the decade mark, he is already climbing up the record books.
One of the rankings he can ascend is career points by a point guard. At 16,815 points, a healthy Lillard should pass Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash to move into the top 10 next season. But he can move up another list even more quickly.
Lillard is currently 14th all time in games with both 30 or more points and 10 or more assists. The Trail Blazer guard currently has 37 such games, two ahead of the 15th-ranked Larry Bird.
And just one spot ahead of Dame? Jordan, who finished his 15-year career with 38.
Once Lillard passes MJ, he’ll have a chance to also move past Kevin Johnson at 39 and Dwyane Wade at 40. The all-time record seems far-fetched though, as Oscar Robertson has a jaw-dropping 227 30-point, 10-assist games in his career.
Damian Lillard isn’t the only active NBA player surging up the 30-10 list
While Lillard can pass Jordan and inch closer to the top 10, a number of current players can be found on the 30-point, 10-assist list.
James Harden is not close to Robertson’s record, but the Beard is second on the all-time list with 92. Third and fourth-place are now teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers; LeBron James with 89 and Russell Westbrook with 82. The only other active player who sits ahead of Lillard is Chris Paul, who is tied with Wade at 40.
At 31 years old, Lillard should still have a number of seasons left to move up the rankings even further. But it won’t be long before two younger players will be right beside him.
Trae Young and Luka Doncic, two of the NBA’s brightest young stars, are surging up the list. Although the pair of guards are only entering their fourth year in the league, the 22-year-old Young is already 17th with 31 such games. As for the 22-year-old Doncic, the Slovenian is 21st with 25 games, four away from cracking the top 20.
The younger generation, led by Young and Doncic, will eventually have their day in the sun. But Lillard is still in the middle of his prime and moving closer to history one game at a time.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.