Transcript: Damian Lillard On 'Courtside' From The Draft Lottery
By caseyholdahl Posted in: damianlillard
Damian Lillard joined Courtside from New York to discuss representing the Trail Blazers at the NBA Draft Lottery and Portland getting the 10th pick. Lillard talked about the experience, how he doesn't consider himself the "face of the franchise" and which players he likes in this year's draft class.
What was today like for you? What did it entail?
Early today I got a chance to get down to Times Square, meet some fans, take some autographs and pictures, just enjoy myself down there. Then I came up, got ready for the Draft Lottery. I was just honored to be able to represent our team, be up there and hopefully bring some good luck, which I didn't bring much. But we got a pick, which is most important, and I'm excited to see what we do with it.
How does it feel to be the face of the franchise? How did you decide what you were going to wear today?
I didn't put much thought into it, to be honest. Any time I'm going to be on TV I want to look professional and look nice. It took the same amount of thought as any other time. But I don't really put much thought into the whole "face of the franchise" thing because I feel like it's more than just me. It's about us. It's about our team and I'm just happy that I can be here to represent the team.
What was the last communication you had with Neil Olshey before the lottery drawing took place?
We parted ways when he walked into that room (where team officials are sequestered). When he went into the room I went upstairs and that was the last time we spoke.
Have you seen him since the Lottery ended?
I haven't. I looked for him a little bit when I walked out but I didn't find him.
What are you talking about with the other players who were in attendance at the Draft Lottery?
I was just telling them 'I'm here to get the number one pick,' just messing around, giving them a hard time. A couple of them gave me a hard time about being Rookie of the Year and calling me big shot and all of that stuff. I did the same thing to them. But it was more like that than anything else.
Which players do you like in this draft?
I threw out a comment, not that they've asked. I've made comments about who I like. I really like CJ McCollum, who's also similar to me. He's a four-year player, a four-year college athlete, graduated from school, he's about 6-3 and a half, he can score the ball, he can also make plays. I think somebody like him off the bench would really help our team because he can back me up as a point guard, he can come off (the bench) and score, he can play off the ball. So I think someone like him would be really good for us.
I also like Ben McLemore and I also like Nerlens Noel also because he's a paint protector, shot blocker, rebounder and he's athletic. So I like a few guys in this draft.
Are you going to watch the pre-draft workouts in Portland?
At the end of this month I'm going on a little trip for the NBA. When I get back I definitely plan on sitting in and watching a lot of those workouts.
Any hints from the GM as to the likelihood of keeping or trading the pick?
Nah, he hasn't mentioned it to me. I let him do his job. I don't try to butt-in on any of those things. I do my job. I'll talk basketball with you all day but when it comes to that stuff, I'm not even close to a general manager, so I'll leave that to him.
Were you surprised about how easily the Spurs beat the Grizzlies in Game One of the Western Conference Finals?
I wasn't shocked because I didn't really think they folded. I thought they both came out of tough series. (Memphis) got the best of Oklahoma City but Oklahoma City didn't lay down. I think Oklahoma City kinda took a lot out of them because they had to really fight for every game they won. The Spurs, they had to fight also, but they had a few games where they kind of just wore the Warriors out a little bit. I just think that they had one of those games where it caught up to them. I think the Spurs, they're a good team. You can't take anything away from them. So it's one of those things where they were just the better team in the game and I think Memphis was coming off a really tough series and they got the best of them that night.
What's your outlook on Heat/Pacers?
The Pacers, they're a really good defensive team. They've got a lot of length, athleticism and they've got the paint protected. Any time you have all those things, you're going to be a good defensive team. And they can also score the ball. They've got a lot of good pieces that make them go and that makes them an overall solid team. But me personally, I just think Miami, they're the best team in the league with those three stars they have and I think just because of how well the other players compliment those three guys is why they're probably going to be the champs again this year.
What's the best strategy in beating the Heat?
I think to hurt them inside. Both games that we beat them, we hurt them inside (ed. note: Portland beat Miami once this season
). JJ played well against them, I know LA played well against them, especially in Miami they played really well. I think that would be tough for Miami if they were to be up against the Grizzlies because they've got Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol down there. It would be really tough for them. So I think size is the toughest thing for Miami. If you don't have greater size than them then they can use their athleticism and their versatility against you, then you don't have much of a chance.