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Damian Lillard Speaks on Team USA Experience, Playing with Teammates

The high-powered Team USA squad will give Portland’s star a chance to play in a new way.

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2021 USA Basketball Training Camp: All-Access Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers’ star Point Guard Damian Lillard is currently in Las Vegas with the USA Men’s Olympic team. The squad is preparing for the 2021 Olympics with exhibition games. During media availability on Thursday, Lillard was asked about the turmoil surrounding the Trail Blazers. But Joe Vardon of The Athletic recapped Lillard’s comments about why he’s happy to be with Team USA and the role he expects to be playing going into the Olympics.

But Team USA backcourt teammate Bradley Beal can match all of that offensive firepower. So can Kevin Durant. And Jayson Tatum. And Devin Booker. Lillard mentioned Zach LaVine as another. All of this, then, begs the question: With all of those scorers on the floor in the Olympics, who’s going to pass the ball?

“I didn’t come here to try and play the exact same way that I play in Portland,” Lillard said. “I came here to be a weapon, to play off of other guys. By understanding that, I’m just going to get into the paint; if they collapse, I’m going to make the right play and push it out. If I’m attacking the rim and Bam (Adebayo) is diving, I’m going to toss it in the air. If I happen to be on the weak side and somebody else is penetrating and the ball comes to me, I’m going to shoot.

“I came here excited to not be exactly who I’ve been for my team but to use my skill set and all of my ability to complement everybody else on this team.”

The team will head from Las Vegas to Tokyo for the 2021 Olympics which are set to take place from July 23-August 8.