Damian Lillard’s assist numbers, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe points out Friday in his weekly “Ten Things I Like and Don’t Like” column, haven’t changed much over the years. Since averaging 6.5 assists per game his rookie season, his yearly averages haven’t fluctuated more than one assist per game over the course of his career, though that’s not all that surprising to see from an NBA-ready guard who is also relied upon for volume scoring.
But while Lillard numbers might be the same — he’s is averaging 6.5 assists through 11 games this season — Lowe says the “quality of his passes have reached a new level” …
That is some peak Rajon Rondo-level angling. The timing of his pitty-pat pocket passes to Jusuf Nurkic is exquisite. They flow so naturally from the typical rhythm of his dribble that you almost don’t see them coming; they kind of look like dribbles, until you realize Nurkic has the ball on his way to a rumbling layup.
Portland will need a lot from Lillard during Al-Farouq Aminu’s absence. Aminu is a crucial glue guy on defense — and even on offense when he’s canning enough 3s.