ESPN’s Jalen and Jacoby are both highly optimistic about the prospect of Damian Lillard winning the first MVP trophy of his career this year.
The Portland Trail Blazers are on the rise, much like the Denver Nuggets. Both of these teams have had to deal with injuries to multiple starters for dozens of games, but they’re now back to full fitness.
This has helped them to rise up the standings, but it has also helped the MVP cases of their best players. Both Nikola Jokic and Damian Lillard are currently in the thick of the conversation, with good reason.
Jokic is averaging historic stats for a center while leading the Nuggets to an elite record in the West. The Blazers are one win behind, and they have Lillard lighting it up from everywhere against everyone.
It would be awesome for the NBA if either of these players ended up winning their first MVPs this year.
Jalen Rose and Jacoby expect Damian Lillard to make a run at MVP honors
Both Jalen and Jacoby alluded to Lillard’s MVP-level display while discussing their win over the Pistons:
“Dame Dolla has scored 30 points more often than any player in the NBA this year. Nurkic has returned, he’s on another minutes restriction. CJ McCollum has also returned. They added Norman Powell, who’s going to be a great pickup. Dame’s gonna have a legitimate shot at winning MVP.”
“As we’re trying and sorting out these candidates, the Blazers are getting healthy. And as that happens, Dame Dolla continues to be outstanding like he has been this entire basketball year.”
Jacoby then chipped in with,
“One thing about the Blazers is CJ McCollum came back from injury, but he spent no time – he didn’t have a minutes restriction like Nurkic. He didn’t have to work himself back into shape. He’s back to the CJ McCollum that he was before the injury.”
“That was a much-improved CJ McCollum than anything you’ve seen from him. And you’ve named Dame as the MVP, and I wanna look at the Western Conference standings again. Because that’s gonna play a role in who’s winning MVP this year.”