Stephen A. Smith Reveals Best Player In NBA Right Now
Stephen A. Smith spoke out this week and revealed who the best player in the NBA right now is.
According to the often-bombastic ESPN host, the answer is obvious: Damian Lillard.
“Best player in the NBA right now,” Smith said of Lillard after the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their first round series.
Best player in the NBA right now. pic.twitter.com/T14ag2NDC1
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) August 19, 2020
It is hard to argue with Smith’s assertion. Since the season restarted in the NBA Bubble, Lillard has been on a tear. He is averaging 43 points per game and somehow single-handedly willed his team into the postseason despite the Memphis Grizzlies having far better odds to make the cut.
On Tuesday night, he recorded 34 points, five rebounds and five assists in Portland’s 100-93 victory over the No. 1 seeded Lakers, and that was something of a quiet performance by his standards.
In the nine games that took place in the NBA Bubble prior to the playoffs, Lillard scored at least 30 points on all but three occasions. He scored at least 40 four different times.
At one point, with the season on the line, he put up 51 points, 61 points and 42 points over a three-game stretch between August 9th and August 13th.
Stephen A. Smith’s Praise Comes With An Asterisk
While Smith’s point on Lillard’s play is objectively fair, it does come with a “right now” stipulation for a reason. The playoffs are still a long ways from being over, and there are far more proven playoff competitors participating than Lillard.
LeBron James of the Lakers and Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers have both done big things on the biggest stage of all, and they have a track record of single-handedly altering the postseason in a way Lillard is only beginning to look like he can.
If the Blazers really do end up upsetting the Lakers, and if they live up to Charles Barkley’s lofty dreams of them making the NBA Finals, Lillard’s stock with skyrocket into a different stratosphere. For now, though, the 30-year-old is just the best player in the NBA during a largely meaningless stretch.
Game 2 between the Lakers and Blazers tips off on Thursday, August 20 at 6:00 pm PST.