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Video: Watch Damian Lillard go off for 29 against Spurs

Lillard drives against Parker during NBA basketball game in Portland, Oregon

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) drives against San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) during third quarter of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Oregon, December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


That right there is why Damian Lillard has separated himself in the early Rookie of the Year, talk. Well, that and Anthony Davis’ injury, but mostly this.

Lillard was matched up with Tony Parker and went off for 29 points on 11-of-22 shooting. What he shows is a maturity to his game we often don’t see from young point guards, an understanding of when to shoot, when to pull up and reset, when to pass. It’s not just the four years of college that helped with that, it’s years as the primary playmaker for his college team that forced him to make decisions like this. The players are bigger and faster now, but the decision process is similar.

That is a polished and fundamentally sound player (good shooting stroke, great use of changes of speed to create space). He’s going to be a star in this league.