Haynes: Lillard To Compete In Dunk Contest, Considering 3-Point Contest

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Chris Haynes of CSNNW is reporting that Damian Lillard will take part in the dunk contest on Saturday night of All-Star Weekend. Haynes also reports that Lillard is considering participating in the three-point shooting contest as well …

We reported a few days ago that Lillard was pondering the idea of displaying his ups on the grandest stage and now we’re told he is all in.

It doesn’t stop there, however.

The NBA has broached Lillard with an attractive, unprecedented opportunity. They’ve asked him to consider the Three-Point Shooting Contest as well, another source relayed to CSNNW.com.

So far, the reining Rookie of the Year is committed to defending his Skills Challenge title; he’s competing in the Dunk Contest, the Rising Stars Challenge and the All-Star game.

No player in the history of the game has ever competed in all five All-Star Weekend events in the same weekend. The NBA will announce those participating tomorrow.

Lillard, 23, is strongly leaning towards partaking in the Three-Point Shootout because he is intrigued with the prospect of performing in all five events in which he’ll go down in the record books as the first to ever do so, a source close to the guard tells CSNNW.com.

Rudy Fernandez was the last Trail Blazer to compete in the dunk contest during the 2009 All-Star Weekend in Phoenix. Lillard will be the first Blazer since Cliff Robinson in 1996 to compete in the three-point shootout if he in fact is offered and accepts the invitation. And as Haynes notes, no player has ever competed in all five events.

According to NBA.com/stats, Lillard has dunked the ball eight times this season. He’s a much more prolific three-point shooter, as he’s third in the NBA in three-pointers made with 139 on 41 percent shooting.

Lillard said after being named to the Western Conference All-Star roster that he wasn’t concerned about being fatigued by playing in the Rookie/Sophomore game, defending his Taco Bell Skills Challenge title and playing in the main event on All-Star Sunday night.

“Once I signed up to be a basketball player and I made it to the NBA, I wanted to be a part of this weekend,” said Lillard. “Whatever comes along with it, I’m all for it.”

From the sounds of it, he wasn’t kidding.

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Damian Lillard To Forego 2016 Olympics

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
7 days ago

According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard will not play for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in order to rest and continue rehabilitating the plantar fasciitis injury that dogged the 6-3 for much of the 2015-16 season. I can confirm this report.

Though Lillard was able to play through the injury after missing seven games in late December, the pain caused by the plantar fasciitis in his left foot never really went away. He received treatment on his foot throughout the season, though the most effective approach to the injury, which causes extreme pain on the bottom of the foot and heel, is rest, which is obviously hard to get when you’re the leader and best player on a team trying to make the postseason. By forgoing the month-long lead up to the Olympics and the Games themselves, Lillard should have the recuperation time he’ll need to go into Portland’s 2016 training camp completely healthy.

Charnania is also reporting that Lillard was hoping for more time to make the decision before being pressed by Team USA for a commitment one way or another. This could very well be true, though if being completely healthy and rested for the start of the 2016-17 NBA season is Lillard’s motivation for declining a Team USA invite, it’s hard to figure how another week or two would change his decision.

Lillard initially declined being a part of the pool that Team USA draws their roster from, though he ultimately relented despite not feeling particularly optimistic about his chances of being named to the Olympic team after being passed over for the FIBA World Cup team in 2014. But between players opting to rest in preparation for the upcoming season and the myriad of concerns regarding the 2016 Games, the number of candidates has dwindled to the point where Lillard would have been a lock to make the Olympic team had he chosen to participate.

But Lillard opting for rest over Rio doesn’t mean you won’t have a Trail Blazer to root for during the Olympics, as Al-Farouq Aminu and the rest of Team Nigeria (a team that also includes former Trail Blazer Ike Diogu and former Oregon Duck Chamberlain Oguchi) have qualified for the 2016 Games after winning AfroBasket 2015 in Tunisia. And CJ McCollum has also been invited to play on the USA Select Team, whose purpose is to help the USA National Team prepare for international events, though players from the Select team have been promoted to the National team, with the most recent example being Mason Plumlee making the 2014 World Cup team.

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Lillard’s ‘Music Monday’ Goes Freestyle With New ‘Shook Ones’ Track

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 weeks ago

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is currently barnstorming through Asia as a part of the adidas “Take On Summer” tour. He’s meeting fans, instructing young players, working on his dance moves and generally having a good time in one of the most basketball-obsessed places in the world.

But even though it’s already Tuesday in Asia, it’s still Monday here in the United States, which means Lillard has a new track to post on his Soundcloud account under his nom de rap “DameDOLLA.” And this week, it’s a freestyle featuring V.I.P., one of Lillard’s regular collaborators, entitled “Shook Ones”…

A few select four bars from Lillard’s latest offering…

Last of a dying breed and they’re taking me for granted
I represent the ones working for it, nothing handed
The world is all backwards. How we lazy and demanding?
We ain’t working towards dreams we’re just working towards mansions

I see my people struggle when they still don’t ask for nothing
We always gonna keep it solid, I know when the times are toughest
I know when they gonna be fine and i know when to give them something
Don’t ever try to finesse me, I know when a sucker bluffing

Good stuff. “Shook Ones” is just the latest of Lillard’s growing number of tracks, which include Soldier In The Game, Full Stomach, Why?, Free Bands, The Villains and last week’s Isley. All of these tracks and more can be found on Lillard’s Soundcloud page.

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Audio: Terry Stotts On ‘The Vertical’ Podcast

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
3 weeks ago

In between playing a few rounds of golf and enjoying some of Oregon’s finest beverages (I’m assuming), Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts joined Chris Mannix on “The Vertical” podcast to discuss his past as a player and coach and Portland’s unexpected 2015-16 season…

Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA oracle and head of “The Vertical,” leads off the podcast, with Stotts’ segment with Mannix starting just before the 42 minute mark. Whoever put the post together was kind enough to break down the topics in case you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, and I’ve transcribed a few segments for your reading pleasure…

Stotts on CJ McCollum’s season, which culminated with the third-year guard being named the NBA’s Most Improved Player…

“I knew he was going to have a good year and I knew he would probably be in the conversation for Most Improved. Now, I wouldn’t have said how many points he was going to average or anything else, but I knew that the opportunity was going to be there and he was going to take full advantage of it because he’s extremely skilled, he can put the ball in the basket and. There were some question marks — one was his health — because he had had injuries each of the three previous seasons, we made him our backup point guard, that was something that he hadn’t done at this level. So there were certainly question marks in certain areas, but the fact that he could score and do what he can do well, I don’t think that surprised anybody within our organization.”

Stotts on Damian Lillard using slights from the media, perceived or otherwise, as motivation…

“I will say in this day and age, I think everybody knows what everybody is saying about everybody. If they don’t read it, a friend reads it or a friend retweets it or forwards the tweet. It’s really hard not to know what’s going on out there and people can try and say, ‘No, I don’t pay any attention to that’ but Damian is a very honest person and he’s true to himself. To say that he doesn’t know what is being said, it wouldn’t be truthful. I think a lot of players and a lot of people in general use that as motivation. I find it funny how people think that Damian is alone with that because you have goals and he wants to do well, he wants to prove what he can do. I think it’s more about what he’s capable of rather than what people are saying.”

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