It was a blast watching Lillard play this season, but I've been even more impressed with the "Respect" program he started here in Portland, and the time he put into it. I always root for Big Sky athletes in the pros, and it's so rare to get an NBA player out of the conference, let alone what looks to be a future All-Star and All-NBA player.
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- It's unanimous: Portland's Damian Lillard is the NBA's Rookie of the Year.
Lillard, the sixth overall pick in last June's draft out of Weber State, led all rookies with a 19-point scoring average. He also averaged 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, playing in all 82 games this season.
He broke Stephen Curry's rookie record for 3-pointers in a season, finishing with 185, and became just the third NBA rookie with at least 1,500 points and 500 assists, following Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson.
And the Blazers' point guard swept all six of the league's Rookie of the Month awards this season.
"I can't stop smiling," Lillard said, when awarded the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy on Wednesday.
Lillard is the fourth player in league history to win the Rookie of the Year unanimously, joining Blake Griffin in 2011, David Robinson in 1990 and Ralph Sampson in 1984.
All season Lillard has been winning accolades from across the league.
"He's fantastic, really fantastic," Kobe Bryant said after the two squared off in a game earlier this month. "A lot of players get hot, but he's got the moves, the patience, intelligence, the balance on his jumpers. He's the real deal."