Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has established himself as one of the premier players in the entire NBA. That emergence is not by mistake. In a recent interview with Dime Magazine’s Robby Kalland, Lillard discussed his pursuit of continuous improvement.
Lillard, who enters the 2020-21 season at 30 years old, revealed that he is constantly looking to address the weak spots in his game—a trait that separates him from a handful of his all-star peers.
I think some people will just ignore it and say, whatever, I average 25 and I’m an All-Star and whatever. And some people take that challenge and look in the mirror and find those things. Like, OK, I do miss more when I’m going right than I’m going left. Teams do have more success guarding me when they do it this way. I know teams are trying to make me play in the paint. You find those things, you find, in the beginning of the third quarter I do miss more pull-up jumpers than I do at any other time in the game because I might be more fatigued. Or I do miss my free throws. You’ve just gotta find — once you get to a certain level, you’ve got to really look hard, you’ve got to really look in the mirror and be honest with yourself and say, I know I’m a great player, but if I do this, it might not make me the greatest player, but it’ll make me a little bit better. And if you find another thing, it’s going to make you a little bit better.
Last season, Lillard posted career-high averages in both points (30.0) and assists (8.0). The former Weber State star also discussed how Robert Covington, the Blazers’ biggest offseason addition, fits into Portland’s scheme during his interview with Dime Magazine.
I mean, what you said, what they asked him [Covington] to do in Houston was a lot, especially on the defensive end of the floor, and he won’t have that amount of responsibility here. We’ve got Nurk who’s great on the defensive end as a rim protector and rebounder, he communicates. Same thing with Zach. Same thing with Hoodie, Gary Trent. We’ve got guys who take that burden off of his shoulders, so now I think he’ll be even better with a more simple role on the defensive end with his deflections and how he gets steals. He’s a good shot blocker for a wing defender. He guards smart. He uses his mind on the defensive end of the floor, and he’s a shot maker. He’s versatile, you can slide him from the two to the four and he’d be comfortable at all those positions. So, I think he brings something to the table similar to what we had with Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu, but with maybe more experience just because of what he’s been asked to do for some teams.
In 22 regular season games with the Rockets last season, Covington logged minutes at both forward positions and the pivot spot. In those outings, he averaged 11.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
You can read Lillard’s full interview with Dime Magazine by clicking here.