Oakland, Calif. native Damian Lillard is the current favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year, according to an informal poll conducted by CSN Bay Area on Monday.
Lillard is averaging 18.8 points and 6.3 assists per game for the Portland Trail Blazers, who picked him sixth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.
CSN Bay Area talked with assistant coaches and scouts throughout the league, with many of them putting the point guard as the nation's best rookie, over Anthony Davis. Davis was the No. 1 overall pick, but has only played in 10 games this season because of a concussion and an ankle injury.
"He does not get too rattled when things are going bad and when they are good he appears to keep the same focus. He shoots it well and makes good passes, but the poise and pace, while obscure, are more important to his success. He is not afraid of the big moment, either. Which is big," said one Eastern Conference assistant coach when asked what impressed him most about Lillard.
Lillard is already taking the big shots for the Trail Blazers, lifting Portland to a 95-94 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday with a last-second three-point shot. Lillard is third on the Blazers with a Player Efficiency Rating of 17.6, according to Basketball Reference.