PORTLAND, Ore. (May 1, 2013) – Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been named the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, it was announced today by the NBA.
Lillard, 22, led NBA rookies with 19.0 points and a team-high 6.5 assists to go with 3.1 rebounds and 38.6 minutes in all 82 games. Portland selected Lillard with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Weber State.
Lillard becomes just the fourth unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year in league history, joining Blake Griffin (2011), David Robinson (1990) and Ralph Sampson (1984).
“The Rookie of the Year Award validates the dedication and commitment to excellence Damian exhibited all season in games, at practice and in the community,” said Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey. “His willingness to take ownership and be held accountable for the high expectations placed upon him since last year's draft are vital components in building a championship caliber roster. With his work ethic and passion for the game, Damian's historic rookie season is the first step in what will be a long and distinguished NBA career.”
The 6-foot-3 guard joined Oscar Robertson and Allen Iverson as the only three rookies in NBA history to record at least 1,500 points and 500 assists.
Lillard broke Stephen Curry’s NBA rookie record for 3-pointers made in a season, finishing with 185 3-pointers on the year. He continued his historic rookie season by becoming the first rookie to lead the NBA in total minutes played (3,167) in a season since Elvin Hayes in 1968-69.
“I am very proud of what Damian accomplished this season,” said Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts. “It is a testament to his talent, character and work ethic that he played at a very high and consistent level throughout his rookie season. Along the way, his name was mentioned along with some of the greats to have ever played in the NBA.
“This is just the beginning of what is sure to be an outstanding NBA career. I know that Damian is already working on ways to get better for next season.”
Lillard becomes the fourth Trail Blazer in franchise history to take home the Eddie Gottlieb trophy alongside Brandon Roy (2007), Sidney Wicks (1972) and Geoff Petrie (1971). Portland is the only NBA city to garner four Rookie of the Year awards since the team was founded in 1970.
“Not only is he a talented player on the court, he’s also become an admired ambassador for the Portland community, the Trail Blazers and the entire NBA,” said Chris McGowan, Trail Blazers President & CEO. “We are thrilled about his unanimous selection as the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year. This is another proud moment in Trail Blazers history.”
He swept Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors for all six months, becoming one of just eight players to sweep NBA Rookie of the Month honors since the inaugural award in 1981-82, joining Ralph Sampson, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
As part of its support of the Rookie of the Year Award, Kia Motors America (KMA) will donate a new 2014 Kia Sorento LX CUV to LifeWorks Northwest, a leading non-profit, community-based prevention, mental health and addiction agency committed to supporting a healthy community in the greater Portland metro-area. Kia Motors will present a Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five 2012-13 season-end award winners as part of “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” Following this season, Kia Motors will have donated a total of 26 new vehicles to charitable organizations since its support of the NBA's prestigious season-end honors began in 2008.