The Influence of Social Media: Is Damian Lillard a Future Laker?


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“Damian Lillard Lebron James” by Jaimie Valdez is licensed by USA Today Sports

Social media is a mainstay that extends further than the intricacies of the present generation. Just like other things, social media, and specifically Twitter, is germane to sports, and specifically the NBA.

Players are attracted to the satisfaction of replying or tweeting at someone akin to the average citizen. Yet their tweets are accentuated and thus criticized by fans and media alike while our tweets are merely glossed over. So when Damian Lillard hosted an obligatory Q & A on Twitter, questions pertinent to a potential Los Angeles move were anticipated. Lillard could have taken the cautious route, avoiding vexatious questions from the sports medium of paparazzi. Instead, Damian Lillard, who is outspoken on various platforms, took the red-letter detour.

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An inquisitive fan asked the Trail Blazers star, “If the Blazers traded you to the Lakers to help Lebron would you be happy?”

Lillard responded with a simple answer that confirms his capacity to flourish anywhere, but disavows his patented loyalty, “I’m typically a happy camper.”

It was par the course for a fan to inquire about Lillard’s interest to play in Los Angeles. After all, the Lakers added the best player in the league, Lebron James, to a hearty and bright-eyed foundation. They have champion veterans; Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. A small forward prototype: Brandon Ingram. Do-it-all tweener: Kyle Kuzma. And an esoteric yet fruitful role player: Lance Stephenson.

With all that said, Magic Johnson and crew are still equipped with their enigmatic and prophesied point guard, Lonzo Ball. Keeping him has a wide range of benefits. Ball is a plus defender, can initiate the offense sans Lebron, and jot around an abundance of screens alongside Lebron. However, the mayhem the Lavar Ball circus precipitates are more typical to a Dean Winters Allstate commercial. The noise and headlines his presence provokes rival only Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel. Both those players are framing their previously sought-after art in a different gallery (minor league baseball and Canadian football, respectively). I don’t apprehend Lonzo will be stripped of his profession like the aforementioned, but he likely won’t find himself flaunting the purple and the gold next season.

I suppose the inevitability of a change of scenery means the similar inevitability of an arrival. The end is pragmatically a new beginning. Hence, the dissatisfaction with Lonzo means the conceivable arrival of Damian Lillard. After all, Lillard’s timetable more closely aligns with the 3-time champion. Lakers roster aged a few years by adding a 33-year-old Lebron. Not only that, Rondo is the same age as Bron. Lance Stephenson is 27. JaVale McGee is 30. Lillard will be 28 by July 15 and plausibly amidst his athletic prime. Lillard made his debut on the All NBA first-team and averaged 26.9 points 6.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds.

The guard led the Trail Blazers to their most wins since LaMarcus Aldridge wore Portland colors. Yet they were swept in the first round by a Pelicans team missing their star player. Lillard had a subpar performance (and that’s putting it lightly). He underwhelmed as a shooter, shooting just over 39% and 30% on 2’s and 3’s, respectively. For all his talents, he seems ripe for a secondary role where he does not demand outright pressure from the defense.

Unequivocally, Lebron is the focal point to any offense. He makes players around him better, but there is a harsh consciousness that defines who he makes better, and to what extent. Point guards stand unrivaled at the top of the list. The King drove Kyrie out of Cleveland. Isaiah Thomas never fit in. Mario Chalmers was like Lebron’s son, yelled at for even insignificant wrongdoings.

Seeing Lillard at any other position is practically inconceivable. Since entering the NBA, Lillard has played 85% of his minutes at point guard. Even next to combo guard McCollum, Lillard’s usage rate has exceeded past 30% the last three seasons. His game is predicated on getting the ball, and getting it a lot. His 82.2 touches per game placed 11th in the NBA. It’s vastly unknown if Lillard’s dynamic with Lebron is congruent to the Kyrie-Lebron relationship, but there is indubitably an uncanny semblance.

Knockdown shooters are harmonious to the tune of a Lebron team. For the most part, Koby Altman did a formidable job of placing pawns around his King. He turned Mo Williams, Mike Dunleavy, and a 2019 first round pick into specialist Kyle Korver. When Lebron penned the “I’m coming home” letter, he conspicuously omitted Andrew Wiggins. By virtue of Kevin Love’s hasty arrival as a stretch four. The prodromal secondary players ranked 11th and 12th in 3-point field goals made catch and shoot situations.

In conjunction, the Lakers, who were second last in three-point percentage, could utilize shooting virtuoso. Undoubtedly, Lillard does not lack in that category. The star point guard has heaved almost 3500 shots from long-distance and completed 36.8%. He can hit shots in rhythm, off the dribble. The Trail Blazer placed 62nd in three-point percentage (36.3%). Which notably fell below non-shooters Ricky Rubio and Tyreke Evans. Playing next to Lebron, who thrives in drive and kick situations, means Lillard will find himself spotting up an inordinate amount.

Feasibly, there is nothing to see here. I am simply reading into a book that has not been published. After all, Lillard’s next tweet established a level of impromptu and mockery, “Everything is a stretch. Oh well.”

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