Portland Trail Blazer PG Damian Lillard Talks Off-Season Training, Derrick Rose & Why He Chose The # “0”

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Online sports publication SLAM recently interviewed NBA player Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. In the 2012 NBA Draft, the 23-year-old Oakland-native was selected in the first round with the sixth overall pick by the Trail Blazers and he was unanimously named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2013. Lillard spent the off-season traveling the world and working out but he still managed to find time to talk to SLAM while he was at the EA Sports headquarters in Orlando. The Trail Blazers Point Guard spoke about what he’s been working on this summer, off-season training, Derrick Rose being an explosive athlete, watching Baron Davis play when he was growing up, why he chose the number “0” and much more. Below are some highlights:

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What have you been up to this summer?

I’ve been traveling a lot, doing stuff through the NBA, through adidas. Other than that I’ve just been working out.

When you watch game film, is there anything specific you see that you want to improve on this summer?

Probably one of the main things is just different floaters and little jump-hook shots in the paint instead of challenging the bigs every time, because I got beat up a little bit over the course of the season just from attacking the rim so much. There were a lot of times when I could’ve just stopped short of the rim and just shot a floater over the top of them. Coming across the paint, shooting more jump-hooks, I could’ve took a lot of that pounding off of my body had I had those shots last season.

Is there anyone specific who you want to steal moves from?

In the League right now, I think Derrick Rose. He’s an explosive athlete and he attacks the rim, and I like to attack the rim, but he has that floater in his game. I think I need to develop it. Baron Davis is another guy who I loved to watch play growing up, and I’ve been talking to him about different ways to be more crafty with the ball. Hopefully I’ll be better next season.

You had an interesting tweet about young players placing too much value on getting buckets. What inspired that?

There’s a lot of younger guys from Oakland, from my area, guys that are in college that I follow on Twitter, and they’re always talking about getting buckets. I kinda got a little bit irritated, because there are some guys—their team needs them to get buckets, but everybody can’t get buckets. So I was just like, How are you valuable if your team doesn’t need you to get buckets? What are you gonna do?

Shabazz Muhammad said he’s wearing No. 0 this year because no one else does—but you and a bunch of other guys wear 0.

I don’t even know if he meant to say that [laughs]. Russell Westbrook, who’s I think a three-time All-Star, wears No. 0. I was just the Rookie of the Year and I wear 0. There’s a lot of guys that wear No. 0. Jeff Teague wears No. 0.

When you came into the NBA, why’d you decide to go with 0?

‘Cause I’m from Oakland, I went to school in Ogden [UT] and now I’m playing in Oregon—so it was more about the O.

Read the full interview over at SLAM.

Photos Credit & Source: SLAM |

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