The 2022-23 NBA season is officially right around the corner and this week, the Portland Trail Blazers took the next step in that process, kickstarting Day One of training camp. As is to be anticipated, excitement was in the air, as well as the need to shake off some rust from the long offseason.
In providing takeaways from the opening day, Blazers star Damian Lillard and head coach Chauncey Billups were in mutual agreement that the need to “get acclimated” and overcome sloppy play were among the key thoughts, as told in a column today by Aaron Fentress of Oregon Live.
Lillard himself assessed the Blazers’ efforts with a passing grade, giving them a “B-plus,” all the while acknowledging that the excitement led to some disorganized play at times.
“We’ve been playing for the last month or so and today was the worst day,” Lillard said. “So, I think it was like that excitement and emotion of things being official created some of that sloppiness.”
“Overall, it was a good day but we didn’t have enough ‘five’ action for anything to really get going,” Lillard said. “Just a good day of getting stuff in. Getting back into the swing of things. I think tomorrow will be a more smooth day.”
Billups’ comments were nearly identical. As Fentress pointed out, the team introduced a few of their play designs and concepts, and then allowed the team to play freely.
“Usually on the first day you implement things and you start going up and down and everybody is so antsy, it’s sloppy,” Billups said “But it was OK. It was not as bad as I thought it might have been.”
Over the rest of the article, Fentress highlights some of the other positives, such as the Trail Blazers’ players developing their off-court team chemistry and camaraderie. As it is with nearly every team at this point in time, thoughts and vibes are optimistic heading into the new campaign. The rest of Fentress’ column can be found through the link above.