Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was named the NBA Rookie of the Year on Wednesday after a breakout campaign that saw him leapfrog all first-year players.
Lillard, the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft, was not the highest profile rookie entering the season but he quickly claimed the spotlight to be the unanimous selection for the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy.
The six-foot three-inch guard averaged 19 points per game and 6.5 assists while finishing with 185 three-pointers to set a new rookie record.
"When I first got drafted, I knew that I was up against it. There was a lot of doubt," Lillard told reporters in a television interview. "I just wanted to help the team and exceed people's expectations. It's an honor."
Lillard is just the fourth rookie to win the award unanimously, joining Blake Griffin (2011), David Robinson (1990) and Ralph Sampson (1984).
More importantly, he proved to be one of Portland's most consistent performers, and was the only Blazer to appear in all 82 games.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)