Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was interviewed on "The Jim Rome Show" Friday.
The audio is right here. You will need to register an account with the show's website to stream the audio.
The following is a partial transcript of the interview, which was interrupted throughout by some chirping noises because Lillard has not changed the battery on his smoke detector (seriously).
Does preseason success mean anything?
I think it was really helpful. We're entering the regular season with some momentum. I thought it was more positive that we did the things we wanted to do to win those games. Defensively, last year that was one of our weakest parts of our team. IT was a huge emphasis in training camp at getting better at it. I thought we were able to transfer from training camp to the preseason and that's how we were able to win those games.
Difference in expectations this season?
Yeah. Last year I was unknown. I kind of just came onto the scene. You could say I probably caught some people off guard, and now, peoples antennas are up. They know who I am. Of course people will expect more from this year because of last season and I expect more from myself. That's usually how things go. When you play well or good things happen, people always want more and expect more.
Anything surprising to you about your rookie season?
I never really thought that far. I wasn't really surprised that it did happen. I've always been a confident guy. Those are things I thought I was capable of from the get go. Just how fast it all came to life, I think that's more what surprised me. Just how quickly people were starting to say, 'He would be Rookie of the Year, he's so far ahead in the Rookie of the Year race, he could be one of the top point guards.' All the stuff that people started to say, came along fast, I started to get surprised by how fast it was picking up.
Criticism of your defense
When I first heard it I tried to not let it bother me. I care about playing defense and I want to be a good defender. After talking with one of my teammates from last season, Ronnie Price, he was telling me that it's not always how hard you play defense, it's tough when you come into the NBA because everyone's really good. It's just a matter of you getting that experience, starting to understand NBA offenses, how to guard certain situations. Sometimes you're going to play defense as hard as you can but it might not work, you might struggle because you're not comfortable or used to it, but the experience from last year has really helped me become a better defender this year.
LaMarcus Aldridge being a vocal leader
I have noticed it. Just seems like he's really trying. He knows he's our best player, he's our All-Star. He knows a lot of guys are going to look to him when things are going back. As our best player, what's he going to say? How is his body language going to be? This year hasn't been a different him, but he's been a more assertive LaMarcus.
Tell me about "Four Bar Friday" rapping trending topic on Twitter
I play basketball for a living but besides that I love to rap. I saw on Instagram they post 15 second videos and in 15 seconds you can say four bars. So one day I decided to start a trending topic like "Throwback Thursday" or "Flashback Friday" I started a "Four Bar Friday" for people who like to rap and have fun, to start a trend on a social network, see how far it could go and make something of it. So far it's been pretty good.
Who have been the best rappers so far?
Shump was really good. Iman Shumpert. Paul George has been every week, I'm going to give him the top spot. He's been really supportive of what I started, posting one every week. My teammates are supportive also, we bring it up, joke around about it. Hopefully I can get all of them to put in a Four Bar submission at least one Friday.
I would like to see rappers, real rappers, put in on it. I would like to see guys like Drake, Wale, J. Cole. It would get really fun or pick up when guys like that. Or bigger names in the NBA like LeBron [James], Chris Paul, KD -- I know Kevin Durant raps. When guys like that start to jump into it, that's when it would really take off.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter