Damian Lillard has another title to add to bubble MVP: Carmelo Anthony’s No. 1.
Anthony is in his 17th season in the NBA with his fifth team, but none of his former teammates have matched what Lillard has done this year for the Trail Blazers.
“Dame’s at the top for me,” Anthony told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve never played with someone who lifted his team on the court with his play and as a leader. He genuinely cares for his teammates. What he’s been able to do is amazing. He’s the top guy I’ve played with.”
Lillard is a five-time All-Star but has elevated his game in the NBA’s bubble to will the Trail Blazers to the playoffs. In nine games to wrap up the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, Lillard averaged 36.9 points and 9.7 assists per game.
Anthony — who helped the playoff push by averaging 17 points and 6.4 rebounds per seeding game — has had plenty of great teammates along the way, including Allen Iverson in Denver, Ama’re Stoudemire on the Knicks, Paul George and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston.
But Lillard has them all beat, in Anthony’s mind.
“AI was on the tail end [of his career] at that point [in Denver],” Anthony told Yahoo. “I’ve played with some great players, but the way Dame elevates his game and others, he’s at the top.”