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Latest News, NBA / Feb 8, 2013 / 10:00 am

Dime #72: Damian Lillard is the Most Exciting NBA Rookie Since LeBron James

Dime 72: Damian Lillard

We’ve been waiting to drop this news on our readers. With the (relatively) slow NBA news morning, we figured now would be a great time to hype the new issue of Dime Magazine and cover subject, the electric Damian Lillard.

We’ll be releasing his cover story in this space in the coming days, along with other features from the issue. In the meantime, here’s my letter from the editor, giving you an idea of the thought process behind giving the cover to a guy less than 50 games into his NBA career:

Thank God for the NBA League Pass. Yeah, the service has its issues (Somehow, inconceivably, you are still not able to watch every game in HD), but at its core, League Pass is a fantastic tool for seeing on a regular basis what most basketball fans outside of the NBC/ESPN/TNT realms do not. The ever-increasing rise of NBA apps, Twitter and Instagram as tools to virtually “watch” NBA games with millions of other fans is closing the gap quickly, but there still is nothing available to equal the luxury of being able to tune in to live games on your TV.

For us at Dime, this year’s most compelling League Pass phenomenon has been the work of Portland’s Damian Lillard. The Blazers barely get a sniff when it comes to national TV coverage, so the majority of NBA fans have only really seen Lillard’s work on TV highlight packages or coverage on Youtube, at dimemag.com, or any number of other basketball sites fighting to be heard.

We’ve been fascinated by Lillard from the jump and we’re putting him on the cover just an issue after highlighting him as a player who will shape the future of the game in Dime #71. The guy plays with a dynamic, explosive fervor that goes against the grain of his consistent, steadfast, placid demeanor. He’s so even-keeled under the bright lights we have to continuously remind ourselves that he’s just a rookie. In a basketball universe where young players go to the League early with little to no coaching discipline in their past, and their maturity is constantly in question, Lillard is truly a rare find.

We sent Dime writer Andrew Greif to Portland to spend time with Damian for his first magazine cover shoot. Check out Andrew’s solid cover story on Lillard and learn what makes Damian an unflappable, budding star.

You’ll be shocked to know that Lillard wasn’t the least bit fazed by the moment.

— Patrick Cassidy, Editor & Co-Founder

What do you think of the new cover?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/barbosa.cesar César Barbosa

    wow! what about the guy called BLAKE GRIFFIN?

  • Dime Magazine

    You can make a case for a lot of guys (Rose, CP3, KD, even Brandon Roy). But with the game-winners, the huge scoring games, the weird cool at all times, we’ve been all about Dame this season.

  • http://twitter.com/jkadis Justin Kadis

    Kyrie doesn’t even get a mention in the group of “a case for a lot of guys”?!

    Compare the per game averages and Kyrie is a small step ahead, compare the per 36 minutes since Kyrie played nearly 8 minutes less per game and the age and it seems to me Kyrie had a significantly better rookie year.

    Just my opinion as a biased Cavs fan.

  • http://twitter.com/jkadis Justin Kadis

    Here is the rookie season of everyone mentioned.

  • cesar

    when u’re talk about ‘most exciting player’ u CANT forget quake griffin

  • JT

    Kyrie is a beast, and clearly superior to Dame in both rookie season comparisons and current season comparisons, IMO. Coming from a Blazers fan.

  • Eric

    Clearly superior is kind of an overstatment, they are very evenly matched in terms of stats man.

  • Eric

    Kyrie is a scoring point guard, that’s all he has ever been. Don’t get me wrong he is a good player but he doesn’t run the offense. he is the offense. He maybe has a couple games a month where he gets good numbers in assist. Damian lillard leg the nation in scoring in college and then came into the nba and still scored but also became a very good point guard when it comes to pick and roll, assist, scoring, decent on ball defense. When the blazes played cavs kyrie did not even guard damian, damian was guarding kyrie all night.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.mcgraw7 Aaron McGraw

    “Damian was guarding Kyrie all night” and Kyrie had 31 points 5 assists and 4 steals on 54% shooting. Great, great argument.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.mcgraw7 Aaron McGraw

    Except they aren’t. Per 36, Kyrie had more points, shot better, more assists, more rebounds, more steals, and more blocks. The only thing Lillard has on Kyrie is turnovers. Kyrie is clearly the superior player now and was last year too. Its not close at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.mcgraw7 Aaron McGraw

    Its not just your opinion. Its fact.

  • Fojimu

    You do realize that Kyrie has only been in the league for two years right? And you do realize Lillard only averages one more assist right? And you do realize there’s multiple reasons why Kyrie doesn’t stack assists right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.mcgraw7 Aaron McGraw

    This a joke right? Damian is solid, but there are multiple rookie seasons better than Lillard’s this year. Hell, you could argue that Lillard isn’t even the best rookie this year. Dumb, just dumb.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.reimann.754 Michael Reimann

    Dime obviously did a good job because you’re fired up over this topic. You think people would read a cover article “Damian Lillard the third most exciting rookie since LeBron” Just sayin

  • Ryan

    Also realize DAME is on a potential playoff team with mouths to feed on the offensive end. If he was on last years cave he could put up 25 a night.

  • Ryan

    THIS YEAR? Who the heck would be better?

  • Ryan

    He was also on a god awful team, Lilard is not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.a.harden Jeffrey Allen Harden

    They made that headliner to sell copies and start a discussion, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and didn’t Blake go to the all star game as a rookie

  • LuponPDX

    Good Job Dime, We in PDX love Lillard, he plays like he’s been in the league for years and is a great addition to our young team, and to all you haters, get over it and show some support for a great young player

  • http://www.facebook.com/mgerrishUT Matt Gerrish

    For the love of god, where can I buy a freakin copy of this magazine!? It isn’t in stores anywhere around where I live, and I can’t find anywhere on this site (or anywhere else for that matter) where I can buy this issue with Damian Lillard on the cover.

  • Tony

    How do you get a copy of this magazine?