Damian Lillard is an optimist. At least until the March 9 game against the Celtics, he is optimistic that the team will make the playoffs.
Although the Blazers are 31-35 after the Celtics game, Lillard still believes the team can turn the tide. During an interview, he once said: “Although we have stumbled, there are several teams in the West that have lost 33 or 34 games (before the deadline). Even if it seems that we can only fight to see the playoff Playoffs, but there will be opportunities to play against each other. Everyone’s challenge is the same. If things go well, we may reach the playoffs in fifth place. Now the team is continuing to struggle and strive to become a playoff-playable team. team.”
Suggesting the Trail Blazers trade Lillard or persuading him to ask for a trade is not the topic of this article. After all, these two topics have been discussed badly and have been slapped in the face by reality.
Lillard is loyal to the Blazers. Not only has he publicly stated that he also signed an extension last year to allow him to play for the Blazers until the 2026-27 season. He wanted a championship and was desperate to bring one to the Blazers. The real question is, how can this great goal be accomplished?
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The Blazers have some good players. Anfernee Simons can score, Matisse Thybulle can defend, and Jerami Grant can play both offense and defense. However, the Blazers may not even qualify for the playoffs this season. Lillard said in a previous interview: “This season for us is just one of the seasons where we have encountered a lot of adversity, but this season we have been unable to move forward. This is the first time in my career that I have encountered this situation.”
Lillard needs help, and it’s the job of Trail Blazers prime minister Joe Cronin to add good players to help Lillard. After the Trail Blazers owner fired former Premier Neil Olshey, Cronin succeeded him. This season is also Cronin’s first full season as Premier.
So far, the operations he has handled have not been earth-shattering, and it is imperative to trade CJ McCollum. McCoolum traded for Josh Hart and a first-round pick, and this year he traded Hart for Thybulle and Cam Reddish. He tried to cash in on the deal, but it seemed to be in vain.
Lillard said in an interview: “I can fully understand the team’s plan. I have been honest with the prime minister. He knows what I want, I want to win, and win in a Trail Blazers jersey. He also expressed the same. Desire. He told me the front office would give me every chance to win. At some point in the future we will find out that our plan was right, but we must execute. We must implement the plan , to give opportunities a chance to be practiced. I know what Cronin is, and I trust him. I never thought he was the kind of person who said something in front of me and then didn’t do anything. At most, he tried his best but couldn’t do it. good.”
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Lillard said: “I always believed that I was loyal to the team and what I wanted, and I still am. However, as I said, if at some point the uniform comes to me and says we can’t do it, maybe we should. Let go of the past. I don’t think it’s an issue, it will be clear someday. At this point, all I know is I want to win.”
It is not an impossible task for the Blazers to hit the championship in the future. The most important part of becoming a championship team is to have a cornerstone player, and Lillard is fully capable. At 32, he is still in his prime. This season, he allowed his personal scoring and field goal percentage to reach career highs. As of this writing, he is averaging 11 3-pointers per game and is shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.
He missed most of the games last season due to injuries. Some people wonder whether this will be a turning point in his career. However, Lillard did not go downhill because of this, and he broke through himself. In this regard, Lillard said: “I feel good, like I have felt in the past for a long time. At that time, facing the abdominal injury made me stressed, because I knew that something was wrong with the body. I couldn’t sleep at that time. Sore, unable to move. I knew my mobility was limited, but I didn’t know how my body was going to react, and it was stressful. When I knew my body was going to be strong, I was at peace.”
Lillard is now focused on how to make it to this year’s playoffs, how to stand out from the playoffs, and see if a healthy lineup can become a surprise in the Western Conference. He also knows that the off-season is the key point, and the team has the opportunity to greatly upgrade through the operation of the off-season.
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The team may have up to two first-round picks to maneuver, while also holding a large number of second-round picks. If there are players who are good at threading the needle, Lillard wants the team to get them. He said: “We can’t go into the off-season and do nothing like in the past. It used to be like the team was going to do something, and then watched other teams keep arming, but we kept skipping, skipping, skipping, Nothing is done, and then it’s over. We seem to maintain this way to face the new season. From an execution point of view, we should actively do something, take a step forward to give ourselves a chance to be one of the teams that may be possible team.”
Lillard’s career has not yet entered the penultimate phase (signed to 2027), and still enjoy the game as before. However, he has three young children, one of whom is Damian Jr., who is about to turn five. At the age of five, he would facetime with Lillard and ask him when he would be home, which made Lillard feel heartbroken. Retirement day is still far away, but Lillard knows it’s approaching.
Lillard said in an interview: “I want to win a championship before I retire. I didn’t set a timetable, and I won’t delay retirement like some people. I made a lot of money, achieved a lot, and now I just want to win a championship.” Leave the battlefield after the next champion.”
[Special editor Shi Tonglun / Responsible editor Xie Yiqian]
This article is compiled for reference:Damian Lillard Isn’t Giving Up on a Blazers Playoff Run
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