The 2012-13 Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard had a number of incredible moments during the opening season of what should be a long and illustrious career. Today, Dam turns 23, so we’re bringing you his top five moments from that surprise rookie season.
With the Blazers significantly improving their bench this offseason after the additions of Dorell Wright, Thomas Robinson, Robin Lopez, rookie C.J. McCollum and more, they figure to be at least fringe contenders for a playoff spot out West. But Lillard should take this birthday to reflect on an incredible 2012-13 Rookie of the Year campaign. Here are his top five moments from this past season.
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5. His 24 Points and putback dunk against the Timberwolves in March
Lillard led the Blazers to a 109-96 win in this March 2 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Damian poured in 24 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the field and 2-for-5 from behind the arc. But perhaps his most impressive bucket of the night came with a little over three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Will Barton tried to get a bucket in transition, only to come up short. But Lillard was following on the opposite wing, and slammed it home. Impressive stuff for a rookie at a time of the year when they’re usually exhausted with fatigue because they’ve never played so many high-level games in so short a period of time. Lillard isn’t like other rookies, though. As you’ll see, Lillard had a pretty fantastic March on his way to a unanimous Rookie of the Year nod.