Damian Lillard Named 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year in Unanimous Vote

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Damian Lillard Named 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year in Unanimous Vote

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard unofficially locked up the Rookie of the Year award during the 2012-13 NBA regular season. On Wednesday, he was officially rewarded for his efforts. 

The Trail Blazers announced that Lillard had won the award unanimously via Twitter:

Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld first reported the news:

Portland’s young star made an immediate impact after getting drafted No. 6 overall. He put up some of the best numbers in history for a rookie guard.

Lillard appeared in all 82 games this season, averaging 19.0 points, 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 38.6 minutes per contest. He also led the league in minutes played during the regular season.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Lillard is only the fourth rookie in the long history of the league to put up at least 19 points and six assists a night, following in the footsteps of NBA greats such as Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson

The Oregonian's Joe Freeman chronicles the company Lillard joined in Trail Blazers lore:

Lillard will become the fourth player in franchise history to earn the award, joining Brandon Roy (2006-07), Sidney Wicks (1971-72) and Geoff Petrie, who shared the honor with Boston’s Dave Cowens in 1970-71.

Though taking home the award is impressive in and of itself, the consensus honor is a true testament to just how impressive Lillard’s campaign was. He becomes just the fourth player to do so, joining an exclusive fraternity that includes Blake Griffin, David Robinson and Ralph Sampson. 

As a 6’3”, 195-pound product of the unheralded Weber State, not many could have foreseen Lillard’s instantaneous success. However, he landed in a great situation with Portland and immediately received the keys to the offense.

The 22-year-old was certainly not lacking in confidence. He got off to a hot start, dropping 23 points and dishing 11 assists in the Blazers' opener, proving to doubters that he is a willing facilitator.

Whose rookie campaign was more impressive?

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Over the course of the season, Lillard continued to score at will and set up his teammates. While the Blazers only finished 33-49 on the year, there is certainly reason to believe in a playoff appearance in 2014.

As long as Lillard remains the focal point of the offense alongside two-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers have a bright future. It's safe to say this blossoming young star will collect a lot more hardware before his career is over.

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