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.”
John Wall had a designated player super max contract sitting in front of him (figuratively) since July 1, but he wanted to wait and see what the Wizards would do this summer, and talk to his family about a decision that could lock him in Washington for six years.
He saw the Wizards spend — they matched a max offer sheet for Otto Porter. He also looked around the East and decided this is where he wanted to be. He agreed to the extension on Friday, a story broken by David Aldridge of TNT/NBA TV.
This is a four-year, $170 million extension that kicks in after the two-years, $37.1 million left on Wall’s current deal.
Wall has developed into one of the top five point guards in the NBA, averaging 23.1 points per game last season while making his first All-NBA team (the third team, which he thought was a let down). He is a strong defensive point guard and still arguably the fastest guy in the league with the ball in his hands. He and Bradley Beal have formed one of the more formidable backcourts in the NBA.
Wall is now getting paid like an elite point guard, and he is just entering his prime.
Jayson Tatum was one of the standouts at Summer League.
The No. 3 pick of the Boston Celtics, Tatum came into the draft considered the most NBA-ready player of the class. He showed that at Summer League — he is a fluid athlete who knows how to knock down mid-range shots (and gets to his spots), he has great footwork for a young player, and can attack the rim. He tends to take and make difficult shots, but that will get harder against NBA-level defenders, and he didn’t often play-make for others. That said, he averaged 17.7 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Check out his best plays from Summer League, and if you’re a Celtics fan try not to drool too much.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.
Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.
Peculiar is not a word that comes up often in NBA talk. Not sure it comes up much of anywhere unless a Four Non-Blondes song is on the ’90s station, but especially in NBA talk it doesn’t come up. Until this week. First, there was this cryptic comment from Kyrie Irving earlier in the week about the state of the Cavaliers.
“Like I said, we’re in a peculiar place. The best thing we can do is handle things with class and professionalism.”
Friday it leaked that Kyrie Irving has asked to be traded from the Cavs. Which led to Kevin Love using the word “peculiar” in a tweet.
If you’re unfamiliar, “kick some rocks” is an impolite way of telling someone to leave, or take a walk (kicking rocks on the dirt road).
Fun times in Cleveland. Kobe Altman must be having a fun week in his new job.