Blazers guard Damian Lillard is a happy camper
BEAVERTON, Ore. —
Blazers guard Damian Lillard is having a great time this month, and he’s spending much of it, as you might have guessed, on a basketball court.
Dame is holding his annual basketball camp at the Hoop in Beaverton.
“I enjoy teaching the stuff that I’ve been taught,” says Lillard. “I’m doing it because I want to have a relationship with the kids … influence them, have an impact on them, and I want to teach them the game. It’s that simple.”
Wednesday was the only day that Lillard was available to the media during camp. He answered a number of questions.
There are reports that Knicks star Carmelo Anthony would waive his no-trade clause to go to Houston or Cleveland. Lillard and Blazers teammate C.J. McCollum are both hoping Melo would add the Blazers to that list.
“I spoke to him,” says Lillard about Anthony, “because, obviously, he makes us a better team. With that being out there and that being a real possibility, I don’t see why I wouldn’t reach out to him and let him know that the interest is mutual, if he is interested in us.”
Lillard wouldn’t go into details other than to say it was something they needed to talk about and that he and C.J. would love to have him join the Blazers.
Lillard also talked about center Jusuf Nurkic.
Nurkic was picked up in a trade with Denver late last season. He made a big impact on the Blazers and the fans, but suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right leg near the end of the season. Lillard says that Nurkic is coming around well.
“I worked out with him for a whole week,” says Lillard about Nurkic. “He looked good. He looked real slim. He moved well. I just noticed he was really slim and he was dunking the ball easy, spin move dunks, drop step dunks and everything. He looked real good, and he was keeping up.”
Lillard says he also caught some of Summer League action and was impressed with first round draft pick Caleb Swanigan, a 6 foot 9 inch forward from Purdue. He averaged a double-double in Summer League with 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. Lillard says he thought Swanigan was really good.
“I knew he could rebound well,” says Lillard. “I saw he had some 20-20 games in college, but he was shooting the ball well. He was making threes, facing up midrange, hitting those shots.”
Zach Collins is the Blazers other first round pick. He’s a 7 footer from Gonzaga. Collins only played two games in Summer League because of a right quad contusion. Zach averaged just six points and five rebounds and shot only 26 percent in Summer League.
“I watched him a lot more in Summer League practice,” says Lillard. “He seemed like he moved well. I saw him make some good passes, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of him.”
Lillard is a five-year veteran, who has improved every season, and last year finished tied for sixth in scoring in the NBA with 27 points per game.
“I’m always trying to find things, find ways,” says Lillard. “What can I do different? How can I change this? How can I be better about that? The reason why it’s like that, because I want to win it all.”
Blazers fans love hearing that.