Damian Lillard gave the ultimate compliment to Brandon Roy, who he said would have been the greatest Portland Trail Blazer of all-time.
On Wednesday night, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard continued to make his case as the favorite to win the NBA MVP award this season. In the Trail Blazers’ 126-124 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Lillard scored 43 points and tallied 15 assists. With that stat line, he is now the second player in franchise history to have 40-plus points and 15-plus assists in a game since Clyde Drexler did so in 1986.
In the postgame press conference, Lillard was asked what he thinks it will take to be considered the greatest Trail Blazers player of all-time. When responding, the point guard gave heaping praise to former Trail Blazer Brandon Roy, saying he would have been the greatest player in franchise history if not for his injuries.
Lillard’s comments about Roy begin at the 2:19 mark in the video below:
Roy’s career curtailed due to injuries
Roy was the sixth-overall selection in the 20016 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but was subsequently traded to the Trail Blazers. In his rookie season, Roy averaged 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 45.6-percent from the field in 57 games. As a result, Roy was named Rookie of the Year.
In the subsequent three years, Roy earned All-Star Game nominations in each campaign. He appeared to be on the verge of greatness. But nagging knee injuries brought his career to a halt.
Roy would announce his retirement from the NBA in 2011 after it was determined that his knees had degenerated to the point where there was no cartilage left between the bones. The guard would attempt a comeback in 2012 with the Timberwolves, but it lasted all of five games after undergoing another knee surgery.
In his career with the Trail Blazers, Roy averaged 18.8 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds, while accumulating a 45.9 field-goal percentage and 34.8 three-point percentage.
While Lillard is destined to become the greatest Trail Blazers player of all-time, he paid respects to Roy, who could have been one of the franchise’s best had he been healthy throughout his career.