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DO NOT DRAFT LIST: Damian Lillard

That’s right. The man who averages 25, 7, and 4 for his career. The man who rivals Steph Curry with his ability to shoot deep three-pointers with ease. The man who can score 60 points at the drop of a hat. The man who is a newly minted Olympic Gold Medalist. Nope…it’s not going to be Dame time for me in fantasy drafts this year. I have a bit of a conspiracy theory for you that’s eating into his ADP.

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Avoid Dame At All Costs This Year

In June, we heard this: “Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Damian Lillard may be ready to request a trade out of Portland, after blowback from Trail Blazers fans over the impending hire of new head coach Chauncey Billups and the inability of the team to contend for a title.”

He tweeted this Nipsey Hussle lyric (yes, this counts as reporting these days):

Then we hear this report from Henry About of TrueHoop: “A source close to Lillard says that in the days to come, he plans to request a trade.”

Then in July, at the Olympics, Dame took questions after practice to address those rumors: “There’s a lot of things being said and words being put in my mouth — and I haven’t said anything.”

Well, folks, that’s enough for me. Dame has been outspoken in the past about how stars joining forces with other stars to make super teams, is “running from the grind.” I disagree with the statement, and it appears after years of losing early in the playoffs and dropping 40 and 50 points, it is starting to take a toll on him. He’s ready for changes and the Blazers front office thinks they’re a championship team. That’s a problem. It’s clear to me that he wants out, but doesn’t want the public backlash for preaching loyalty, and then deciding his happiness should come before pleasing fans. Which it should.

I’m not expecting a James Harden type of mess from Dame, but my hot take is that I do think there will be a quiet mess behind the scenes. The Blazers will stumble out of the gate, and those who drafted Dame in the first and second rounds of NBA fantasy drafts will be disappointed as he starts to get shopped around. In that shopping period, he’ll either be benched like Andre Drummond was in order to avoid injury and to let other guys shine, to increase trade values. Or he’ll be stressed/passive and play poorly.

By the way, I know it’s a different environment/role, but Dame didn’t look like himself in the Olympics, either. I think he’s going to have a messy winter ahead of him. There are too many other stat stuffers or elite scorers in the league to draft someone with Dame’s potential baggage, so high. Dame Lillard is making my DO NOT DRAFT LIST this year. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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