With the reins to the Portland Trail Blazers’ offense firmly in his hands, Damian Lillard is ready to take the next step toward superstardom – getting calls. Lillard averaged 4.9 free throw attempts per game in 2014-15, but hopes to increase that number moving forward. He told Jason Quick of CSNNW that he focused on forcing defenders to foul him this offseason.
"In the past I was trying to beat guys to the rim and get the ball on the glass,'' Lillard said. "This year, in the summer, I worked a lot on getting into people’s body, drawing contact. And (work on) my balance, using angles, and getting to spots on the floor.''
Kurt Helin of NBC Sports points out that Lillard is already off to a good start, having averaged 7.4 free throw attempts per game during preseason. Recognizing that exhibition play is a different beast with a smaller sample size, that is still encouraging.
"I don’t go out there and try to draw fouls, but sometimes certain things you do can put guys in position to foul," Lillard said.
If Lillard is able to sustain the numbers he generated in preseason, or at least close to them, he will set a new career-high in free throws attempted this year. Either way, it sounds like we’re going to see a new level of aggression from him as he attacks the rim.