NBA Legend Isiah Thomas Makes a Bold Prediction for Damian Lillard and Portland Trail Blazers

Published 01/03/2021, 7:30 AM EST
Jan 1, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


The Portland Trail Blazers are undoubtedly one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. They’re loaded with immense talent and have a great future ahead. Portland is a frequent playoff entrant, and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas feels they have the potential to become the Top 3 teams in the West. 

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The Blazers currently stand first in the Northwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference. The team is currently riding on a high after posting a blowout win against the Golden State Warriors, before which two-time NBA champion Isiah Thomas had some words of praise for the Blazers’ two superstars. 

What Isiah Thomas had to say about the current Portland Trail Blazers team

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The Blazers have all the elements that make them a potential sleeper in the Western Conference. They’re led by two of the most talented guards in CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, while Carmelo Anthony’s presence adds a massive veteran presence to the roster. 

Before the Blazers took on the Warriors, Isaiah Thomas had a lot of praise for their team’s talented guards in McCollum and Lillard. Thomas himself was a point guard during his playing days and hence, he knows proper talent when he sees one. 

Jan 1, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles the ball against Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) in the third quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

CJ and Dame, I mean these are two prime time players that play well together. Dame has really become one of the leaders not only in the league, but also socially, with his music and everything else,” Thomas mentioned. 

The former Detroit Pistons star also stated how impressed he is with the Blazers’ team as a whole. 

“I really like where Portland is at. I like the next step that they’ll be able to take and that is, it’s just a matter of ‘Can the trailblazers stay healthy?’ Because if they’re healthy, they’re one of the top two-three teams playing out in the West,” Thomas added. 

Last time around, the Blazers entered the 2020 playoffs but were knocked out in the first round. Nonetheless, it was an impressive performance by Lillard and his team, who would be looking to obtain a better result in 2021. 

Lillard explained what’s wrong with the Golden State Warriors this season

Klay Thompson’s injury has massively damaged the Warriors. Steph Curry is healthy but is struggling to carry the team all by himself, and the Warriors registered their third loss of the season when they took on the Blazers on Saturday. 

Portland enjoyed a blowout victory, but that wasn’t the case for Golden State as Lillard and McCollum combined for 62 points to complete the annihilation. After the game, Lillard was asked about the current state of the Warriors team, to which he replied: 

“I think right now, with the injuries that the Warriors have been dealing with and Steph playing with a younger team right now, he’s seeing that it’s tough to get those quality looks right now,” he said

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Jan 1, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) brings the ball up the court against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Lillard also mentioned that Thompson’s absence has put him in a tough spot and that he isn’t getting those open looks that he used to. Hence, the extra burden on the two-time MVP is deterring him from performing well. 

On the other hand, Lillard made history during Portland’s win against Golden State. He joined Clyde Drexler as the only two players in the team’s history to score 15,000 points for the franchise. How far can Dame take them this season?

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Arjun Athreya

1824 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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