Kerr views Steph as 'pioneer' for Lillard, other NBA players

Damian Lillard and Steph Curry
Damian Lillard and Steph Curry

You can argue about whether Warriors star Steph Curry or Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is better from long range. What can't be disputed is their status as the two best shooters in the history of the NBA from way beyond the arc.

While Lillard's amazing performances in the NBA bubble and the Blazers' Game 1 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, unfortunately, have resulted in people being prisoners of the moment and forgetting Curry's greatness, the deserved reaction to that ignorance also shouldn't diminish what Lillard has been doing. We can and should praise when it's obviously deserved without unnecessarily comparing or criticizing when it isn't.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked about the ways Curry and Lillard are both similar and different, but he didn't fall for the trap.

"It's hard as a coach to start talking about other players -- it's just very uncomfortable," Kerr told 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" on Wednesday. "So I'll limit it to how much I respect Damian's game, and obviously the shooting range is outrageous, and he and Steph are the two best in the world at shooting with that kind of range. And what it does to a defense and what it forces you to do defensively when you play against those two guys is pretty dramatic. 

"So, Damian's amazing and he's had just a hell of a run in Orlando and it's been fun to watch."

RELATED: Kenny Smith offers his opinion on Steph vs. Dame debate

Back when Kerr was a player in the NBA, the idea of someone routinely pulling up from 35 feet was foreign at best, and likely would have resulted in that player getting benched. But nowadays, it's not that uncommon a sight, and Kerr views that as a result of Curry's influence on the league.

"Part of Steph's impact on the game is that he's opened the door for a lot of people to think differently about what's a good shot and what's a bad shot," Kerr explained. "When I got here six years ago, there really weren't any other players who were shooting the kinds of shots Steph was shooting, and now you've got guys all over the league who are taking those shots. So, I think in many ways, Steph was kind of the pioneer and a lot of guys were inspired by him and now they're taking it to new lengths, no pun intended."

"Logo" Lillard certainly has been aptly named. He just happens to have Curry to indirectly thank for it.