If you were disappointed as a Portland Trail Blazers fan last season, the feeling is more of the same in 2023 as the franchise appears poised to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row. Much like last year, Damian Lillard’s season has been marred by injuries, playing in 58 out of a possible 73 games thus far, and the team’s nearly out of the playoff race.
Entering play on Saturday, the Blazers sit 3.5 games out of the 10th and final spot to reach the NBA’s Play-In tournament. With just nine games left to play, it would take a near miracle for the Blazers to rally back into the picture. Being that their best player isn’t even at 100%, with Lillard battling a calf injury and having sat out of their loss on Friday, it’s hard to envision a photo finish for Portland this season.
Because of their turbulent road ahead, the Blazers are reportedly considering ruling out their 32-year-old face of the franchise for the rest of the season, according to Shams Charania. The last thing the Blazers want is for Lillard’s current calf tightness to become a bigger issue, which could lead to the shutdown with their playoff chances looking slimmer by the day.
- Damian Lillard stats this year: 32.2 PPG, 7.3 APG, 4.8 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 37% 3PT
If Lillard’s season is done, he can rest easy knowing he gave it his all, ranking third in the NBA in points per game. Yet, even reaching a new career-high in scoring didn’t lead to any more wins, which has become an all-too-common theme in Portland.
Have we seen the last of Lillard in a Blazers uniform? If so, it would cap a fantastic 11-year run, but it’s also hard not to look back and wonder what could have been had Portland managed to build a stronger roster around the future Hall of Famer.
With trade rumors constantly swirling when it comes to Lillard landing elsewhere, we’re sure to head down that same road again this offseason after yet another uncompetitive campaign with little hope for a quick turnaround.
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