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Damian Lillard says De’Aaron Fox might be the best guard in the 2017 draft

Lillard left Golden 1 Center with a win, but impressed with the whole Kings backcourt

Kimani Okearah

Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Sacramento Kings 113-108 in overtime on Tuesday. Lillard put a lot of pressure on the Kings late in the fourth quarter and in overtime, eventually closing them out by hitting several big shots on his way to 25 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds.

Even though the Blazers won, Lillard left impressed with the now 19-18 Kings.

After the game, Lillard spoke to Sactown Royalty and was asked about the Kings backcourt:

”I like it a lot. I’m a big fan of De’Aaron Fox. When I look at that draft, all those guards, I think they talk about other people, but he might be the best one. I think his demeanor is a big part of that – you can tell he’s really humble and respects the game. I’m just a big fan of his as a young point guard, and I love the way he’s playing this year,” Lillard said.

Fox, who is averaging 18.1 points (46 percent from the field), 7.5 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game in his second season, went 5th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Other top guards in that draft included: Markelle Fultz (1st), Lonzo Ball (2nd), Frank Ntilikina (8th), Dennis Smith Jr. (9th) and Donovan Mitchell (13th).

Lillard was asked what he thinks Fox needs to do to take the next step in development.

”Just keep growing – it’s hard in the NBA, a lot of people look at stuff and say, ‘oh, this guy needs to do this, this guy needs to do that,’ but they don’t have to go out here and do our jobs. They don’t have to deal with the pressure, or expectations of what it demands, especially as a point guard. So, I think he just has to keep improving, keep taking that challenge to be a leader and do the things that might be uncomfortable, to get out of your comfort zone and just keep growing, keep getting better,” he said.

As for Fox’s backcourt teammates, Lillard had good things to say about them as well.

”I think Buddy Hield is coming along scoring the ball. You need somebody like that. He can shoot the ball, he can put it on the floor, make pull-up jumpers. [Bogdan] Bogdanovic is nice, I really like his game. I really like their team,” he said.

Hield is averaging 19.9 points (46 percent from the field), 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Bogdanovic is averaging 15.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds.

The Kings will face the Blazers again at the Golden 1 Center on Jan. 14.