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Portland Trail Blazers 2017 Exit Interviews

The Portland Trail Blazers’ season is over. Check out what they had to say about it, looking back.

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Evan Turner

Evan Turner Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

Looking back at it now, what was it like playing with such a big contract?

I mean, it was great playing with such a big contract. I mean, it is what it is.

Did you find that there was pressure with it or—?

There was no pressure. Honestly, I think you guys probably just think I’m lying when I say this stuff; I don’t know what’s going on outside of my own—you know what I’m saying? What’s going on in general. I don’t too much worry about outside of the locker room or anything like that. I don’t mind sacrificing myself for a squad or anything else like that, so somebody like ‘What’s he doing?’ or anything else—if I came out, I guarded the better scorers in the league or, you know, did my job for that night or got rebounds or got stops or whatever and we won, that’s all that matters. If you judge me off what I’m averaging, I can combat it and say I got five shots. You knw what I’m saying? So I just think that stuff is just for the masses. I’m only worried about what the coaches think, what my teammates think, and how I can help day in and day out. I don’t worry too much about the contract or anything else like that. I’ve been blessed to be able to make it this far, be able to live a dream, and be able to get paid to do what I do. And that’s enough.

Meyers Leonard

Meyers Leonard Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

Can you be more detailed about what’s been going on physically with you?

Well, I mean, coming off the shoulder, it was a long process for me. Like, Ed (Davis) for example just had his and I’m so happy for him. His range of motion and everything and his strength is awesome, but I had a lot more going on, so the rehab was really extensive and not being able to train at a high level last summer, I think, set me back when it comes to, like, my legs and strength and core strength and all that. Then coming into the year, I basically went from not practicing to a couple practices to playing, and all of a sudden my back kind of gave in and that continued a little bit throughout the year, and I just felt like I never quite got to where I was feeling good. That’s why this summer is so important for me. Maybe I take a week—maybe two—and then it’s pretty much foot on the gas pedal the rest of the summer.

Al-Farouq Aminu

Aminu Exit Interview

‎Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on‎ יום שלישי 25 אפריל 2017

Key quote:

Chief, how would you sum up your season individually, particularly compared with how you played last season?

This season was different for me because it was the first time I’ve been injured, so that brings a whole set of things within itself. I’m thankful that I was able to come back healthy, first and foremost, and I think that I continued to just show that my versatility to be able to help this team out because, at moments, we lost like five men; at moments, we lost four men. You know what I mean? It seemed like we didn’t have everything that we needed and we could still grind wins out and we could still be in games and different things like that.

Allen Crabbe

Allen Crabbe Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

Allen, a lot was made of your contract that you signed, obviously, now that you’ve had time to look back, did that affect you at all? Did that add any pressure?

Not pressure. It was a lot of inconsistency for me on my part. Definitely not the season that I had the vision to have, but that’s the good thing about a four-year contract; you get three more to, you know, turn things around and go into the offseason and evaluate myself and my season and look at film and look at a lot of areas that I can improve on and do those things in the offseason.

Maurice Harkless

Maurice Harkless Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

What do you think this team needs next season?

It’s hard to tell. I think this year it was tough a little bit because, I think, I don’t feel like we were able to find a real identity for most of the year. It’s hard to play like that; it’s hard to win like that, especially when you’re matched up with a team like Golden State in the first round, who’s been consistent all year with what they do and how they play, and just trying to adjust to that. I don’t know if that was something we were ready for at that point.

Noah Vonleh

Noah Vonleh Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

Moving forward, how excited are you to work with Nurkic?

I’m very excited to work with him. We’re both young bigs. You guys saw what we were kind of able to do when he came over through the trade. He was making defenses collapse on him and he was just finding me in the right spots and getting me easy buckets, so it was pretty fun playing with him and having somebody that’s that big down there to help me rebound and things like that. He’s a great defensive presence, also, so it’s great playing with him.

Shabazz Napier

Shabazz Napier Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

Is there anything specific you can relay that you learned?

It’s not one thing specific that I learned. With me, I never need confidence. That’s who I am. I base myself off my ethic, my work ethic, and continuing to get better. So it wasn’t confidence, it was just being able to understand that, you know, I can play with these two. You know what I mean? I can go out there and compete. I didn’t have that in Miami; I didn’t have that in Orlando, because I didn’t have guards like Damian and CJ, so to be able to play against them each and every day in practice and be able to work out with them guys on off days was something that was definitely needed for me to see and realize.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

Damian, in hindsight, do you think there’s anything to a lot of people getting paid at the same time—that that impacted the team in any way?

I think as much as you don’t want it to or you don’t want to believe that it would, I do know that just from being around the NBA—not specifically our team, but being in the NBA—it’s hard on guys. You get paid a lot of money and people make such a big deal of it that you feel like ‘Man, now I got to show that I earned this contract.’ I think when the urgency comes from everybody else saying it, that’s when you have a problem, but when it’s just in you and you say ‘I earned this contract’ to begin with and you really believe it and you tell yourself ‘Now I’m going to go out there and show that I should have gotten this contract,’ when it comes from within it’s just different. You can go about it different and I think—across the league—some guys, they say ‘Man, should I have gotten this contract?’ and they go out there and they don’t play as comfortable and as confident. Some guys, they say ‘I know what kind of time went into this contract and I know that I deserve it. Now I’m going to go prove it.’ I think you see the difference. I think you can watch the season and you can tell which guy is which.

CJ McCollum

Cj McCollum Exit Interview

Publicado por Portland Trail Blazers em Terça, 25 de abril de 2017

Key quote:

How much is being a better leader a priority for you?

It’s definitely something I want to work on, but I think that as a player who’s gone through different phases of the spectrum, from a player’s standpoint, from playing to not playing, being in a suit, you kind of figure out what good leaders look like. You figure out what was effective for you when you were a younger player, what was effective for you when you were in high school and college, and you try to steal those certain things. As I’ve collected those experiences and memories, I kind of understand now, how to say certain things, how to empower people in certain situations, and just continue to figure out ways to make people around me better.

What does a good leader look like?

I think that it depends on what eyes you’re looking from, but I think a guy who doesn’t put himself above a team, a guy who isn’t afraid to organize events or organize things outside of basketball, a guy who works as hard as the fifteenth man; I think those are signs of good leaders and a person who isn’t afraid to take criticism. I think that I have all those qualities and I’m not afraid to ask a guy like Shabazz for advice or ask the coaching staff how I can be better, what I need to work on, and I can take tough love and tough criticism just because of the way I was raised. So just figuring out ways to speak when you should speak and be quiet when you should and allow others to do certain things. I think that, obviously, Dame is a very good leader—there are some very good leaders across the NBA—and as you continue to play and experience certain things you get more comfortable. I think going into my fifth year, I’ll be a better overall player because I’m going to work and that’s what I do, but I’ll also be a better, more mature person because of the experiences I’ve collected over the course of these last four years.

Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf Nurkic Exit Interview

‎Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on‎ יום שלישי 25 אפריל 2017

Key quote:

Jusuf, all of your teammates pointed to your confidence. Where does that come from?

I mean, I’m coming from the village from two hundred houses. If I don’t have the confidence and don’t believe in self, who going to be? I’m pretty sure you’re not going to believe in me. From the first day, if you asking me what I bring, if I’m going to start talking about what I bring and then didn’t show, it’s difficult even more. So I’m definitely confident. I know what I able to do, especially with the way they welcome me here and then let me to show what I can do. So it was easier part to go out and have fun, then just the coach and whole coaching staff and teammates and fans make it a lot easier for me.

Terry Stotts

Terry Stotts Exit Interview

‎Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on‎ יום שלישי 25 אפריל 2017

Key quote:

Is this your most difficult season as a coach here?

Oh yeah. No question. Yeah. No question. This was a difficult season. When you look at the first four season, you can go through each one and we overachieved first year, second year, third year we were on pace to probably overachieve until Wes (Matthews) got hurt, then the fourth year, obviously, we overachieved, so this was the first year that we didn’t exceed expectations and, by virtue of that, it makes it a little bit disappointing, a little frustrating.

Neil Olshey

Neil Olshey Exit Interview

Posted by Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Key quote:

What did you see early on as the problem?

You know, I don’t have the record, Jason. I think—did we start, like, seven and four? Wasn’t it not—no? I thought it was around there. Seven and four, but it wasn’t a good seven and four. Do you know what I mean? But I think what happened was we got a little bit of a false positive the way the season ended. You know, look, we were competing with the Clippers in that series. I mean, look, it was 2-1 and we were up with six minutes to go in Game 4, so I’m not going to get carried away with injuries. I don’t know that the outcome changes, but I do know we were in that series against an elite, elite team that had championship aspirations. Hey, it fell our way injury-wise and then we played Golden tough, but Steph (Curry) was beat up. So I don’t know that, internally, we changed our perspective, but I think the players just naturally start thinking ‘Well, we’re a second-round playoff team.’ And I think everybody got comfortable that we would just pick up immediately where we left off, and I wish we would have started four and seven instead of seven and four because then I think maybe the wakeup call would have come earlier.