Recently, we linked to an an interview of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard conducted by Henry Abbott of TrueHoop.
A partial transcript is below.
Would you play at a higher level if there were fewer games during the season?
"That's the same as, I think I could produce at a higher level probably if I played less minutes because I would have more energy and more bounce to my step. If I wasn't out there so much, sometimes you can be worn down. Of course if there were less games I would be able to play at a higher level because I wouldn't have to play as many games."
How many minutes do you want to play?
"I'm willing to play as many minutes as my team needs me to play. I'm not saying 'Don't put me out there as much.' But that's just my opinion -- a few less minutes, it might even be three less minutes, I think that would make a difference over an 82-game span."
Young scoring guards take awhile to play good defense
"The NBA level is the best level, it don't get no higher. Guys have a lot of ability offensively, it's tough to guard. The pick-and-roll, all the different sets and offenses in the NBA, it's hard to guard. It's an adjustment learning how to guard it. It's not that you can't play defense, it's just learning the ins and outs of the NBA and how to guard it.
"Between that and guys being as talented as they are going to get at that level, it makes it tough. It might take two or three years to get to be who you're going to be as a defender."
Defensive improvement as a rookie
"It was night and day for me from the preseason to half the way through the season for me defensively. I'm a lot better defender than I showed. I thought I defended OK. But I'm a lot better defender than I showed. There's a lot of things I do still need to learn to be the defender I'm going to be for my career."
Do you have personnel to play good team defense?
"I think we do. We have a few good guards, decent size, quick, pretty strong. We've got a paint presence, we've got good length and size on the wings. We should be, we could be a good defensive team."
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter