Warriors

Warriors' championship core still has chip on shoulders, Damion Lee says

Warriors' championship core still has chip on shoulders, Damion Lee says

When it comes to understanding what motivates the best players to become even better, Warriors guard Damion Lee has gotten a first-hand look by scanning his own locker room. 

“Steph [Curry] revolutionized the game,” Lee said on the Runnin’ Plays podcast. “But if you look at him, Klay [Thompson], Draymond [Green], a lot of guys on this team, we’re all guys that have a chip (on our shoulders).” 

Lee pointed to Curry coming out Davidson, a mid-major college in North Carolina. Draft analysts called him “undersized” and “not a finisher.” Curry was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 draft. 

Thompson was a skinny kid getting few looks from Pac-12 schools. Washington State, a relative no-name among basketball powerhouses like UCLA and Arizona in the conference, gave him a shot. The Warriors picked Thompson No. 11 in the 2011 draft. 

Green was a second-round draft pick. Warriors fans are familiar with the story that Green can rattle off the 34 players selected ahead of him in 2012 before he heard his name at No. 35.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Now this trio wrote their own stories, forming a dynasty with three NBA championships in four seasons. Curry is a two-time NBA MVP. Green is a Defensive Player of the Year. Thompson is among the best two-way players in the league. 

The Warriors made sure they paid these guys too, but fat checks didn’t lessen their hunger

"Some people make it in the league and get their first or second deal, then level off and be complacent," Lee said. "But everyone I’ve mentioned strives for more. We want more.” 

Lee himself was doubted, fending off insults that he’s only in the league because he’s Curry’s brother-in-law. Lee made his path through Drexel, then Louisville, then the G League, overcoming injuries along the way to finally earning a contract with the Warriors last season. 

When Lee thinks of his teammates and the desire to improve after an injury-filled 15-win season, he continues down the roster, mentioning Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, and Juan Toscano-Anderson as fighters. 

“You just have to give credit to guys who have kept that consistent chip, who want to be great,” Lee said.

[RELATED: How Wiggins won over Lee]

Lee landed on the idea of “intestinal fortitude,” the guts it takes to go beyond expectations and push yourself. 

“Having that and knowing you want more ... There’s just a spark,” Lee explained.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Damian Lillard matches Steph Curry in impressive 3-point shooting stat

Damian Lillard matches Steph Curry in impressive 3-point shooting stat

There has been an abundance of comparisons between Steph Curry and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as of late, most of which are prisoner-of-the-moment takes based in ignorance.

Yes, Lillard has been absolutely incredible during the NBA restart in leading the Trail Blazers to the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

No, he has not surpassed Curry as the best point guard in the game.

That said, Lillard arguably is closing the gap. And now, he has done something that no player other than Curry has accomplished in NBA history.

Lillard ended the regular season Thursday having shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range on 10.1 3-point attempts per game, becoming just the second player in league history to post that kind of efficiency on such high volume. Curry, of course, is the other, and he has done it twice.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

In his unanimous MVP season in 2015-16, Curry shot a ridiculous 45.4 percent from long distance on 11.2 3-point attempts per game. Then, in 2018-19, he made 43.7 percent of his 11.7 3-point attempts per contest.

And he just barely missed accomplishing the feat a third time.

In 2016-17, Curry shot 41.1 percent from 3-point land, but didn't attempt enough 3s to qualify.

He literally was one attempt short.

[RELATED: Steph, Dame deserve better than these ridiculous debates]

So, technically, Lillard will only have to do it once more to match Curry. 

That is, unless Curry reminds everyone next season why he's the greatest shooter in NBA history.

Damian Lillard, Oakland native, gets Twitter shoutout from Raiders

Damian Lillard, Oakland native, gets Twitter shoutout from Raiders

The Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night to earn a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament.

Shortly thereafter, the Las Vegas Raiders showed Oakland native Damian Lillard some love on Twitter.

The shoutout was much deserved, as Dame averaged 51.3 points and 9.0 assists over the Blazers' final three seeding games, while shooting better than 56 percent overall and nearly 49 percent from deep (on 14.3 attempts).

Those numbers never will seem real.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Although Lillard let it be known years back that he was not happy with the Raiders for leaving Oakland, he still roots for the Silver and Black.

[RELATED: Bill Simmons wonders if Dame is better than Steph right now]

Dame -- who went to Oakland High School his junior and senior years -- also made it clear last November he did not support the Warriors moving from Oakland to San Francisco.

The five-time NBA All-Star will be back in action Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PT, as the No. 8 seed Blazers face off against the No. 9 seed Memphis Grizzlies.

If the Blazers win, they advance to the first round of the playoffs to take on Los Angeles Lakers. If the Grizzlies win, then Memphis and Portland will do battle again on Sunday to determine who will play the Lakers.

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