Damian Lillard racked up a lot of minutes last season — a league high 3,167. He averaged 38.6 minutes per game for a full 82 games. That’s a lot of time on the court.
Understandably, he would like that number to go down, he told Sean Highkin of the USA Today.
“Sometimes when you’re out there (playing) so many minutes, your body can wear down,” Lillard told USA TODAY Sports. “So you’re not always productive at the highest levels because you might be worn down.”
Last season the issue was depth — there wasn’t much point guard support behind Lillard. Eric Maynor was on the roster for 27 games, but that’s it.
This coming year veteran Mo Williams will come off the bench and let Lillard rest, and coach Terry Stotts also needs to find minutes for rookie C.J. McCollum. Some of those are going to come out of Lillard’s pile.
Lillard is just fine with that.
Lillard had an impressive Rookie of the Year campaign on offense, but it will be interesting to see where he improves for his second year as the Blazers see themselves as playoff contenders. If that’s going to happen it is the defensive end were Lillard really needs to step up.
Lillard understands that and plans to work out with fellow Oakland native Gary Payton.
“I feel like defense is a lot about desire,” he said. “You have to want to do it yourself.
“(Payton) was one of the greater point guard defenders ever to play in the NBA, so I’m sure he can show me a few things. But at the end of the day, I’m the one that’s gonna have to make the change and want to be a better defender.”
On Monday, Dion Waiters agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Heat, far less than most people thought he would get as one of the few significant free agents still on the market. Tuesday afternoon, he posted an explanation on Instagram for his deal.
Here’s what he said:
I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family. I could have waited & got wat I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy… #heatnation let’s get it!!! #provethemwrong #stamped #Philly
It seems clear, based on the market, that the kinds of offers Waiters was hoping for weren’t out there for him. In Miami, with Dwyane Wade gone, he’ll probably start at shooting guard and have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in hopes of landing a long-term deal next summer.
While we wait for the Celtics to make a bigger move to trade for another star, they’re filling out the end of their roster. Sheridan Hoops’ Michael Scotto is reporting that they’ve signed Demetrius Jackson, the No. 45 pick in last month’s draft, to a four-year deal.
Jackson declared for the draft after his junior season at Notre Dame. Talent-wise, he has the chance to be a major steal for Boston — DraftExpress has him ranked as the 17th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class. But he might not play much his first year. The Celtics’ roster is already crowded and there’s still the chance that they’ll make another move with some of their much-vaunted assets if the right star becomes available.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed undrafted rookie free agent center Matt Costello of Michigan State.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Costello averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas.
Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior at Michigan State. He holds the school’s career record with 146 blocked shots.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Jamal Crawford knows how to get buckets.
He does it against NBA level defenders, so put him in a free-flowing pro-am — let’s say the Seattle pro-am in his hometown — and he barely breaks a sweat dropping 44. And nailing the game winner.
Doc Rivers hopes to see a lot of that next season.