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Damian Lillard Comments on Rookie Shaedon Sharpe

During an ESPN during NBA Summer League, the veteran lays the road ahead for the youngster.

2022 NBA Summer League - Portland Trail Blazers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe is supposed to be one of the players to watch at NBA Summer League, 2022. His start has been derailed by a shoulder injury suffered six minutes into Portland’s first game versus the Detroit Pistons. During that game, NBA broadcast partner ESPN interviewed franchise superstar Damian Lillard, asking his thoughts about his injury recover, the season ahead, and Sharpe.

Twitter’s @cjzero has posted video of the portion of the interview in which Lillard talks about Sharpe. You can see it here:

The transcript:

ESPN: How much contact have you had with your new teammates and what do you think of Shaedon so far?

Lillard: I’ve been in the facility every day, just training, working on my body, doing just normal maintenance stuff. lifting, on the court. He’s been there since a little bit after the draft. We’ve played some ones from certain spots. He jumped in and played with us. So he’s super-talented, super gifted, but you’ve just got to get out there and play. You’ve got to see it in live action and put him in the mix. When you’re picked that high, you’ve just got to have that pride about going out there and showing people why, living up to being that high of a pick. I think everybody that’s been picked in that Top 10, they go out there saying, “I’m a Top 10 pick and I need to show these people.” I’ve been there. Now he’s in that position. We’re looking forward to him coming out and showing why.

The general consensus among those responding to the thread seems to be that Lillard was either functioning as a team leader, laying down a challenge to Sharpe, or that Lillard was semi-diplomatically saying he’s going to take a “wait and see” attitude regarding Portland’s prized rookie.

Do you read anything into Lillard’s words or tone here? Were you expecting more of an enthusiastic endorsement? Comment below.