McNeill: Blazers G Damian Lillard Talks Offseason Improvement, Playoffs


Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard discusses his offseason and goals for the 2013-14 season in an interview.

Ryan McNeill of interviewed Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard about his offseason and the upcoming 2013-14 season. The audio is right here.

Here's a partial transcript.

How can you improve next season?

The best thing I know to do is keep working. That's what I've been doing this summer. I've made some improvements on some skill stuff, I've gotten stronger, I've watched film on myself when I was successful and when I struggled. I think I'll be judged -- the level of player I'll be, people will base that on how my team does from now on. My main goal is to try to help my team get further and have a better record than we did last year.

How much will the new bench help?

I think it will help us a lot. We added some really good players. Guys that fit into the team we had already. It won't be as much pressure on our starting five to perform, play a bunch of minutes and still have to produce at a high level. We'll have guys that can come in and produce and make sure we get the amount of rest that we need to be at the top of our game.

How can you keep pace in the Western Conference?

It's always tough in the West. This year, a lot of the teams in the West have gotten better but we're one of them. It's all on paper. At the end of the day, every team that has gotten better on paper and put good guys on their roster, they have to put it together on the floor. It's a matter of who can put it together on the floor the best.

What do you guys need to do to "put it together" next season?

First of all, guys need to show up and be ready. When guys are working in the offseason and show up in shape and everybody is ready, we all can figure out what we want to get done. Everybody has to be bought into what we want to get done. Guys have to understand what their role is, what the teams need from them, and embrace it. I think the best teams have guys that embrace what the team needs from them, sacrifice themselves for the best of the team. Once we can get that, guys can figure what the team needs from them, I think we should be a really good team, a playoff team.

Sean Highkin of USA Today Sports also got a few quotes from Lillard about his workload and the Blazers' offseason additions.

"Sometimes when you're out there (playing) so many minutes, your body can wear down," Lillard told USA TODAY Sports. "So you're not always productive at the highest levels because you might be worn down."


Lillard is happy with the extra help he's getting.

"It was definitely what we needed," he said. "We needed size and we got that. We needed more depth, and we definitely got that.

Lillard also participated in a Q&A with Slam Magazine this week.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter

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