Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard spoke on the SportsCenter Special called “The Return of Sports.” on Monday night. Lillard is not 100 percent comfortable returning amid the coronavirus, but it is a risk he is willing to take.
Damian Lillard is one of the best point guards in the NBA. Portland was one of the 22 teams invited to play at the Walt Disney Studio Resorts in Orlando, Florida beginning on July 30th. It was supposed to start July 31st, but it was pushed up a day.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also talked on the SportsCenter Special on Monday night as well. As for Lillard, he is ready to be a soldier and get his team to the playoffs this season. He is the heartbeat of the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland actually happened to get to the Western Conference Finals last season.
The Trail Blazers are currently in the ninth spot in the Western Conference with a 29-37 record so far this season. They are 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed. Portland and the New Orleans Pelicans are both 3.5 games back, but New Orleans is 10th because of a 28-36 record.
Damian Lillard has played in 58 games so far this season. He is averaging 28.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 7.8 APG, 0.4 BPG, and 1.0 SPG so far this season. Without Lillard, they wouldn’t even be sniffing the playoffs.
Damian Lillard is a leader in all aspects and this is one of the ways he leads. Lillard also wants to stay with this franchise and only this franchise for his entire career. Damian Lillard does want to win a championship in his NBA career, but he only wants to do it here and not anywhere else.
Lillard is also a firm believer that they could beat the number one seed the Los Angeles Lakers (49-14) in the NBA Playoffs. A lot of people believe Portland could be a sleeper out West, but I think the team that would be the sleeper out there is the Denver Nuggets (43-22).
There will be eight regular-season games remaining when play resumes. As long as Portland is within four games of the eighth seed in the Western Conference, they will be able to have a chance to beat them twice before playing the Los Angeles Lakers potentially.
The last time Portland won the NBA Finals was during the 1976-1977 season in six games against the Philadelphia 76ers. They were last in the NBA Finals in 1989-1990 where they lost to the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan‘s and Scottie Pippen‘s crew in five games.
Portland is trying to create sustainability and success here now. Will see if they continue to go through it.
What do you think of Damian Lillard’s leadership with the Portland Trail Blazers? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.