Damian Lillard appeared in front of a frankly unenthusiastic audience. On the occasion of the last game of his team’s season, at the Moda Centerthe point guard had a few words for the local fans, “ the best in the league as it is customary to say.
” It’s been a tough season, with ups and downs and a lot of adversity, a lot of unexpected things, a lot of tough times. But you’re still here, you show us your love, you’re still the fans I’ve always known », superstar poster which is understatement.
The Blazers are done with the playoffs, after eight straight qualifiers including a conference final just three years ago. With the worst record in the franchise since… 2006.
Worse, the Oregon franchise, after transferring CJ McCollum and extending his longtime friend’s stay in the infirmary, embarked on a barely hidden “tanking” operation: 21 defeats in their last 23 outings, on an average difference of 24 points. That is 11 defeats with a deficit of 30 points or more…
But Damian Lillard promises it in front of his fans, whose gray face we can better understand: “ I just need you all to know one thing: this will not continue. Next year, we will come back better than we have been. “It will be difficult to do worse, a priori… The next few weeks will in any case be decisive for the Blazers who will try to do their best to surround their “franchise player”.
Who to extend?
After carrying out a major cleaning during the season (CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, Robert Covington, without forgetting Larry Nance Jr.), they will have a “trade exception” of 21 million dollars, in addition to one or even two potential lottery picks.
” I’ll be here every day to make sure we build the team smartlypromises Chaucey Billups. Because none of us want to go through that again, and this is one way to make sure. »
The coach, who is ending with a painful first season, will have to keep an eye out because, for the time being, the team has only eight players under contract (Damian Lillard, Josh Hart, Keon Johnson, Didi Louzada, Nassir Little, Justise Winslow, Trendon Watford and Greg Brown). Not sure that the few veterans of the team (Joe Ingles and Eric Bledsoe) are integrated into the Blazers project.
See also what they will do with Jusuf Nurkic at the end of the contract. ” I really enjoyed coaching Nurk this year. I felt he was back to a point where his confidence was at its peak “, delivers the coach. To also see if the latter is in the perspective of associating Damian Lillard with Anfernee Simons, who emerged during the absence of the first while playing in the same position. Or by using the young leader as a potential bargaining chip, to attract Jerami Grant for example?
In any case, it will take at least one major player, if not two, to surround Damian Lillard and hope to move up the hierarchy quickly in the West.
|Larry Nance, Jr.||37||23.2||51.5||30.6||65.3||1.6||4.1||5.6||2.0||0.7||1.0||0.4||1.8||6.9|
|Greg Brown III||48||13.3||42.6||31.1||67.7||0.8||2.0||2.8||0.7||0.8||0.5||0.5||1.9||4.7|