David Aldridge of NBA.com asks Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard a series of questions, including a few about his defensive development.
Me: He has said one of the things he likes about you is you're willing to work. How has that shown up at the defensive end this season?
DL: I don't know. I mean, you'd have to watch it to see, like look at last year and then this year to see what's different. Most of it was just watching film on myself, seeing a lot of the mistakes I made. I was running into screens. Even now, if I get tired, I might run into a screen. But I think that my overall, one on one, post defense, pick and roll defense, is night and day from last season.
Me: How long was -- is -- the process of figuring out angles defensively?
DL: Honestly, I don't even think it's angles. I think it's more of, last year people would say a lot of terms. I would hear a lot of NBA terms, what was coming, and I didn't know them. Now, if I hear 'weak' or 'wide' and stuff like that, I can kind of put together what's coming. Or '13' and stuff like that, I know it's a 1-3 pick and roll. Just terms, I think, for me, it's been a lot of that. People call stuff out and I can kind of get a step ahead, because I know what's coming. Whereas last year, I was just playing defense. I didn't know what was going on. I just think learning a lot of those terms helped me.
Lillard's defensive rating as a rookie was 107.2, which has improved to 105.1 this season. Portland is tied for No. 21 in the league in defensive efficiency.
Last week, Dane Carbaugh broke down some tape to help explain why the Blazers have recently taken to switching Nicolas Batum onto opposing point guards.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter