Damian Lillard rained praise on his teammates and organization in an exclusive interview with HoopsHype. In the interview, Michael Scotto revealed many of the quotes that Lillard gave about his appreciation of the Blazers from the top down, as well as his sentiments on his new teammate Jerami Grant.
“I think he’s [Grant] added a layer to our team on both ends of the floor. A lot of times, he’s taking the toughest matchup defensively. He’s using his size, length, and athleticism to be disruptive and give guys like Anfernee and myself the opportunity to play off the ball and not wear ourselves out on the defensive end of the floor every possession and then have to go score and make plays as much as we do offensively. On offense, he’s been able to score in isolation, transition, hit catch-and-shoot threes, and post up. He’s doing so many different things for us on both ends of the floor. He’s so versatile that it’s added a layer to our team. It’s made us a much better team having him.”
Grant has embodied much of Lillard’s evaluation. The all-star caliber forward has averaged 22.2 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting from the field, a blistering 47.6 percent from distance. The latter mark is good for ninth in the league among all players who average one three-pointer per game.
Grant ha posted four 30-plus point games thus far with the Blazers, headlined by a recent 44-point performance in a win against the New York Knicks without Lillard in the lineup. His ability to catch-and-shoot from the corners and finish in transition has given Lillard a long-needed lengthy option that can produce on both ends.
When speaking about his views of the Trail Blazers and their potential, Lillard was not shy in affirming his squad as a championship-caliber team. The Blazers have not captured a championship since 1977, and Dame yearns to be the guy that elevates Rip City back to prominence.
Currently the Blazers sit at 11-11 and are desperately missing Lillard’s offense and leadership. On the quest for a hopeful championship – which two weeks ago looked optimistically viable – Portland will see the reeling Utah Jazz, the Indiana Pacers and an ascending Denver Nuggets squad in their next three matchups.