With the news that Damian Lillard will miss at least three weeks with a sprained MCL, it’s been tough to find any silver linings. But there are some positives in this very dark cloud.
The “where is damian lillard from” was a massive silver lining to the brutal Damian Lillard injury news. The Blazers will have an opportunity to showcase their depth and continue their winning ways.
This season, the Portland Trail Blazers’ season has taken hit after hit. This squad has been beset with injuries, COVID-19 issues, and ownership turmoil all year. Fans expected this squad to rebound after a poor first-round elimination against the Denver Nuggets. Instead, they seem to have gone backwards.
The most recent setback to their season might be the most devastating. Damian Lillard, the Blazers’ standout guard, has battled all season. Due to recent abdominal surgery, he will now miss a large portion of the season. Although we haven’t seen many Dame Time moments this season, his importance to this club cannot be overstated.
Still, this isn’t the time for the Blazers to throw in the towel and retire. This season has a lot riding on it, and both the front office and the players have a lot riding on it before the season concludes.
Demonstrating His Value
Anfernee Simons may be the greatest beneficiary of Damian Lillard’s terrible injury. As a backup to Dame and CJ McCollum, the youthful Blazers guard has been a bright light for the franchise over the previous several years. Simons will very certainly be pressed into a larger position in the rotation, which is a positive thing for him.
Simons, unlike the majority of his classmates in the 2018 NBA draft, has yet to sign a contract extension with the Blazers. Lillard’s injury provides a chance for the 24th overall selection to demonstrate why he is an important part of this squad. Simons has demonstrated he can keep up his performance even when Lillard isn’t on the court: in 22 games without Dame, he’s averaging 15.1 points and 3.9 assists in 27.7 minutes.
After this season, Anfernee Simons will be eligible for restricted free agency. Depending on how well he performs, the Blazers may be forced to pay a premium for him. This is the most critical point in his early career, and he must seize it.
A New Source of Light
Simons may be the greatest winner as a result of Dame’s injury, but it doesn’t rule out the possibility that other players may gain as well. Due to the loss of the team’s leading scorer and playmaker, more Blazers will be called upon to pick up the slack in order to be competitive.
At this stage, the team’s older statesmen are McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. The majority of the scoring burden will rest on their shoulders, and they should be prepared to bear it. Norman Powell, who just signed a contract extension with the Blazers, will have the opportunity to show that the deal he was handed was well-deserved. In Dame’s absence, Nassir Little, Robert Covington, and Larry Nance Jr. will be given chances to shine.
Perhaps more crucial for the Blazers’ management, this run of games enables them to evaluate their assets and determine which players can be sold for a high price. One of the team’s top concerns has been to retain Damian Lillard in Portland, and having a strong supporting cast is a big part of that. The team’s major priority here will be determining which players fit well with Dame and which ones should be moved.
The Long Run
The Blazers are now ranked 10th in the Western Conference, but their season seems to be over. They have a dreadful 16–24 record and are well below the eighth seed at this time. This squad will most likely miss the playoffs this year unless they get an unexpected resurgence from their players. It’s possible that Lillard will be benched for the whole season.
Blazers supporters have reason to be optimistic this season. They’ll be able to assess which of their existing players can be important contributors behind Lillard after he recovers from his injury, as well as which ones can be traded for a reasonable return. There’s always a silver lining to everything, and this circumstance for Portland is no exception.
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