Damien Lillard: “I’m convinced we’re on the right track”

He never missed a game in his first three seasons in the Major League. in 2022, Damian Lillard It was the shortest exercise of his career with just 29 games and a season ended in early January, after his operation was related to his age. ” I’m coming off the longest break of my career, both physically and mentally Today he notes the Blazers leader, who says he’s ready to get himself back together again after such a tight season.

The six-time star says he is in good physical and mental health. That’s understandable after signing this record two-year, $122 million contract extension, which ties him to the Blazers through 2027.

I take pride in wearing this shirt and doing something that a lot of people think is crazy. Lots of strangers tell me what to do, anything that goes against what I believe in and what I stand for. Having people who believe in this with me and believe in my ability to achieve what I want to achieve means a lot. ‘, justifies the loyal leader who gave this speech for years.

Reassured by his general manager and coach

How much of this contract necessarily limits his or her field of employment in terms of employment? It also makes her a source of pride. ” I don’t think you can win a lot just by scoring a lot of points. What Dorina lacks is personality, fighting spirit, passion and pride not only for the name on the back of the shirt, but also for the front and your impact on the people you meet. The way I invested myself in it – and I don’t pretend it, it’s really who I am – it shows the strength of this side. »

The Blazers keep betting on him because they see him as the face of this franchise and an entire city. In contrast, Damien Lillard remains loyal to the club that drafted him more than ten years ago (the sixth choice in the 2012 draft). Loyalty is also linked to the guarantees he is believed to have received from his leaders and coach Chauncey Billups.

I am going Chauncey literally asks, ‘Are we trying to win? Tell me.’ And he will answer: “All I do is win, I am a winner.” Same with Joe (Kronin, GM). […] I was able to trust what Li Chauncey and Ju said. And I think I have a good nose to tell if someone is blowing air or yelling at me. I didn’t have that kind of impression and based on previous relationships, I felt comfortable with him. I had confidence and it was very easy to move on. »

Last summer question

A relationship of trust is necessary because the captain makes no secret that he has recently questioned himself regarding his commitment to Portland. ” If there was a moment (frequency), I would say last summer », drafting the home of Oakland in reference to the Blazers’ elimination in the first round of playoffs against the Nuggets, despite their severe dwindling.

I wasn’t like, “I want to go somewhere else” or anything like that. […] After this loss, I was frustrated that I didn’t get the chance and frustrated to see the other teams win the title. […] I can’t stand the jealousy and frustration when this happens. […] I was just thinking that we really had to put ourselves in a position to have a chance. »

During this season, the Blazers have taken several steps in the right direction by recruiting Jerami Grant and Gary Payton II and by expanding several important players (Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic). Damian Lillard logically welcomes the arrival of the former Pistons winger who, as Rule recalls, had responsibilities in Detroit after playing on winning teams (the Thunder and the Nuggets).

Force him to become a better player. He comes to us today to play a role we need, his arrival automatically improves us on a collective level. Same with Lil J (Payton). It’s ringworm, strong man. He just won the title with a team that had a huge impact on him, so the fact that we were able to get it back is also big. I feel good about it. I want to win, we haven’t won much in the past. I am convinced that we are on the right track. »

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