Trail Blazers made right move taking Swanigan over Bell

Trail Blazers made right move taking Swanigan over Bell

LAS VEGAS -- The Trail Blazers have moved into the second round of the summer league's tournament and will face top-seeded Toronto tonight at 7 o'clock in what I like to call "The Tourney Nobody Really Cares About Winning."

Unless you win it, of course. Then you can tell your fans that it's a sign their franchise is on the right track.

And that could possibly be true, of course. But winning the title could also just mean that you got a team together quickly and went to either Orlando or Salt Lake City summer leagues before coming here and so your team has spent a lot of time playing together. Or maybe you have four or five players from your regular-season team here. Or perhaps you just had good luck picking up some experienced free agents to play for your summer team. Or even more rare, that you actually care about winning the tournament -- which isn't common.

As you can see, I'm not big on this tournament, which seems to me more of a money grab than anything else. Most teams have already had enough games to get what they want out of this little carnival of turnovers and would prefer to not risk further injury to key players.

But it is a chance to see some of the new players heading into the NBA this season. I haven't had enough opportunity to see them all for a long enough period to make any major judgments but I have a couple of thoughts I'll share:

The first thing I want to talk about is Jordan Bell, because a lot of Ducks fans are already going off the deep end about how Portland should have drafted him instead of Caleb Swanigan. Um, no. I don't think so.

Bell is probably going to be a very nice off-the-bench contributor for the Golden State Warriors. He'll rebound, block a shot or two, hustle all over the floor and he's going to profit from playing in a great system alongside some terrific players who will probably make him look a little better than he is. But after watching both Bell and Swanigan here, it's hard for me to say Bell should have been picked ahead of Swanigan.

Swanigan is the more skilled player. More well-rounded. He can do most of the things Bell can do and also make shots from distance. And he's more than two years younger than Bell -- which means he probably has more room for improvement and a couple of more seasons in his career. He's also bigger than Bell and the one question left with Bell is how he's going to operate against bigger, more experienced players once he reaches the NBA.

Nothing against Bell. I like him. I think he was a very good choice for the Warriors, who will make good use of him. But in terms of eventually being a starting player and major contributor I think most people here would take Swanigan.

More Thoughts From Summer League

I'm anxious to see more of Lonzo Ball. He's such an interesting player and, I think, difficult to assess at this point. Yes, he can pass -- but he's not the clever, tricky sort of passer I expected. He is not flashy to any great degree. And that's not a knock on him. He makes the right reads and delivers the ball appropriately.

But he also seems just a little slower than I expected. It will be interesting to see what tempo the Lakers will play with him at the helm. And yes, his shooting form is terrible. His old man, LaVar, seems to act as if he's created the perfect player in Lonzo but I can't believe that's the best he could do with the the kid's shooting mechanics. It is more of a set shot than a jumper and takes a little while for him to load.

That said, he seems to have the "it" factor they love in LA. He's got a star quality about him. And it's going to be fun to see if he can make good on all the expectations the Lakers have for him.

And maybe he will even add a summer-league championship ring to his resume. As if there is such a thing.

Near triple-double: Nurkic knows the importance of giving up a good shot for a great one

usatsi_11695294.jpg
USA Today Images

Near triple-double: Nurkic knows the importance of giving up a good shot for a great one

Trail Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic was flirting with a near triple-double and he was looking to create for the Blazers in Portland’s 119-109 victory over the Wizards on Sunday.

Nurkic finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. He knew looking for his open teammates would be more advantageous for his team.

“When I start the game I thought we’re gonna benefit more if I try, you know, the opportunity was there so I tried just to make a right call and right time… We got really good looks,” Nurkic told reporters postgame.

Blazers fans already know that Nurkic is a team-first type of player and he continues to prove that time and time again.

“When you give up a good shot for great shot it’s always good… We try to pick your teammates up so even in the offense you try to, you know, make the right decision and when you make right decisions, it’s fun, everybody gets to touch the ball. So, when we do that everybody feels comfortable with that,” Nurkic said.    

Entering Sunday’s game, the Blazers big man was averaging 1.7 assists per game, but postgame there was just one fancy pass to CJ McCollum that had the media talking…

“A little space is enough sometimes,” Nurkic joked.

The last time a Trail Blazer player had a triple-double was when Nicolas Batum recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists against the Orlando Magic in January of 2014. 

But, don’t think for a second that Nurkic was watching his stats during the game.

“I’m not hunting… anything, man. I’m gonna do whatever the team needs me to do… If it happens, it happens, you know,” Nurkic said.

The Blazers’ team captain Damian Lillard has been close to snagging that elusive triple-double, but has yet to complete it. In Sunday’s win, Lillard had 40 points, seven rebounds, and five assists as well as plenty of praise for the Bosnian Beast.

“Just making the right plays. I think that, he’s played really well so far this season and tonight, like I said, our attitude was right. We executed, we passed the ball well, we moved well, we cut hard and he was making the right plays. He kept it simple. He was making those backdoor cuts. He was rebounding the ball, you know, our offense and the way we screen was opening things up and he was just playing the game how you’re suppose to play,” Lillard told NBC Sports Northwest producer Peter Socotch.

So, the triple-double watch for this current Trail Blazers roster continues. Who knows with the strong connection between Nurkic and Lillard maybe they could both finish with triple-doubles on the same night.

Yeah, I think about that for a second… That’d be some history for the record books.  

No folding for this team, instead a return to "Blazer basketball"

No folding for this team, instead a return to "Blazer basketball"

WASHINGTON, D.C. – When you’ve lost the opening two games of a six-game road trip across America to teams you may have expected to defeat, things can go two ways:

You can go in the tank and lose a couple of more or you can come out in Game No. 3 with more resolve.

The Trail Blazers took the latter route Sunday night, jumping the Washington Wizards early and often in a win that ended up with 119-109 score that was mostly a 20-point verdict spoiled by a messy ending.

“The easy thing to do is to fold,” Damian Lillard said. “Lose the first two games and say, ‘Ah, man, we didn’t play good in that game' and then you come out here and lose another one.

“And then you go to New York and they’re playing hard – their record doesn’t show the kind of games they’ve been in – you lose another one. So I think we just had to have our minds right more than anything else.

“Come in here and know we had to be sharp defensively. Rebound, make them move around defensively and make them make mistakes. We know they like to play at a fast pace and go full speed.

“But teams that play that way, it’s hard for them to get back the other way in transition. So we knew where our minds needed to be and we did a good job of that.

“I felt like we had some urgency about us. I could see the energy was where it needed to be.  I watch guys and tonight I could tell their focus was where it needed to be.”

The game was marked by a return to an offense that moved the ball like a hot potato and made shots at a respectable rate.

“Blazer basketball,” said Lillard. “That’s what Steve Blake would have said.”

Lillard was talking specifically about a signature nine-pass possession in the first half that resulted in a three-point field goal by Jake Layman that just beat the shot clock.

It was a thing of beauty as player after player passed up an attempt in an effort to get a teammate a better shot.

Lillard finished with 40 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He's the only player in the league so far with three 40-plus point games.

The Blazer guards, Lillard and CJ McCollum, were getting overplayed by the Wizards, opening them up for backdoor cuts that resulted in layups or dunks.. Jusuf Nurkic ended up wit 13 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists as a result.

Portland did a great job of reading the situations, making hard cuts and then pinpoint passes to the cutter.

As well as the Blazers played, it was an uneven game. The starters got off well in the early going, building a 20-point lead. But then the bench entered the game and watched the Wizards rattle off 15 straight points.

But late in the second quarter the starters returned to restore order and the Blazer lead was up to 21 at the half. It stretched as high as 29 in the third quarter before the Washington reserves made a spirited run late in the game to trim the margin to eight.

But this game was never in any real danger of turning into a Portland loss.

“We did a lot of good things,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “Our starting unit got us off to a great start. We controlled the game most of the time.

“Winning on the road is tough and it was good to get one.”

And in New York, the Knicks -- who have been playing very hard -- await Tuesday night.

 

That Trail Blazers ball movement that all of Rip City loves to see

That Trail Blazers ball movement that all of Rip City loves to see

Zipping passes from left to right.

Kicking out to the corner.

Finding the slasher cutting through the lane.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ ball movement on Sunday was a big key to their success in the 119-109 win over the Wizards. You couldn't help but love watching it, even if you were at home watching on TV like I was.
The Blazers now improve to 11-5 on the season. 

Portland came out swinging and went on16-2 scoring run early in the first quarter. Blazers head coach Terry Stotts was pleased with his starters early on.

“We did a lot of good things. The starting unit got us off to a great start. You know, we controlled the game for most of the time. I thought their bench really played hard, the 4th quarter they played hard, they played together, they got good shots, they got a little rhythm going and made it interesting, but you know, winning on the road is tough and it was good to get one,” Stotts told reporters after the game.

Yes, the Blazers ball movement got going early on and it got people talking all over social media.

There’s one play in particular involving all five Trail Blazer players.

At the 4:26 mark in the first quarter, Jake Layman hit a three-pointer in the corner after the Blazers had made nine passes before Layman knocked down the three-ball.

“That was good basketball, I mean, there’s not a basketball person out there that wouldn’t appreciate it and then you’ve got to make the shot with the shot clock running down, but that’s huh… that was pretty,” Stotts said in his postgame media availability.   

On night where sharing was caring, Damian Lillard was able to find his teammates and find the bottom of the net. Lillard finished with 40 points and five assists.

It’s the third time this season Lillard ends a game with 40+ points.

“Blazer basketball. Steve Blake would’ve been real proud of us. We just kept looking for the right play. You know, it was penetrate, pitch, swing, swing, penetrate, swing and I think it was like one second left on the shot clock. That’s like that San Antonio Spurs in 2014 type patience and you see what the result of that possession was,” Lillard said with a smile when talking to Brooke Olzendam postgame about that first quarter, nine-pass possession.

Lillard also had this to say to reporters in the locker room, “If you could have one play and say this is how we want our offense to look that would be the play."

Layman had seven points and two assists on the night and there was one thing he liked most about the play-- “The unselfishness. I mean, us willing to move the ball, make it extra pass. It was pretty basketball.”

After two quarters, Portland had assisted on 15 of their 21 shots made.

After three quarters, it was 22 assists on 32 made shots.

And to finish the game, the Blazers tied a season high 26 assists doing that on 39 made field goals.

“We made some good passing decisions. We got out in transition, obviously we shot the three well… I thought most of our threes came off the pass, which is what we prefer… Particularly the first half, you know, the first half the ball was moving and then even in the third quarter… during that stretch Evan made some really good reads. Damian was mixing up scoring and passing… Good cuts and good passing,” Stotts said.

Even the Portland bigs were getting in on the assist action. Jusuf Nurkic was looking to create vs. the Blazers. Nurkic nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

“I think that it was good reads in that they were trying to deny Dame and CJ and again the passes were good, but I thought the cuts, you know, just reading how the defense were playing us,” Stotts said on Nurkic finding his teammates.

But why aren't the Blazers averaging more assists this season after seeing what this team is capable of after watching Sunday’s win? For Coach Stotts, that’s not so easy to determine.

“Sometimes we have good offense and we don’t have a lot of assists… It’s difficult to evaluate at times. You know, third quarter against Minnesota we had zero assists. You look at the film, we passed the ball, but when we passed to somebody they didn’t make the shot. So sometimes it’s difficult to evaluate, but I think from the beginning of the season 'til now… we’re much better with passing than we were last year,” Stotts told reporters postgame.

Entering Sunday’s game, the Blazers ranked 28th in the league in assists with 20.3. Portland’s assists are not where they wished they would be, but yes, the average is still up from last season’s 19.5 assists per contest.

The 26 assists on Sunday looked easy to evaluate postgame for the players and fans.

That was fun to watch and Layman was spot on-- it was pretty basketball.  

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Blazers win over the Wizards

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Blazers win over the Wizards

The Blazers took care of business on Sunday, getting revenge against the Washington Wizards. Portland jumped out to a 20 point lead in the first quarter, but the Wizards were able to end the quarter on a 15-0 run to cut the lead to single digits. The Blazers would answer back in the second quarter, pushing the lead back to 20 plus, but the Wizards once again made a run in the fourth. But itt was too little, too late for the Wizards, and the Blazers did what they needed to do to secure the victory. 

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on the scene...

Final Box Score: Blazers 119 - Wizards 109

Dwight Jaynes, Trail Blazers' Insider:  Kind of a sloppy ending to what was a solid Portland effort. The Wizards were bad but I don't know how much responsibility the Blazers had for that. Nurkic neared a triple-double and Lillard got 40.

Jamie Hudson, Trail Blazers' Reporter: Ball movement is a beautiful thing and the Trail Blazers were on point with finding the open man and sharing the ball vs. the Wizards. Portland assisted on nine of their first 12 field goals made and finished with 26 assists, which tied a season-high. Sharing is caring and this game showed just how much the Blazers trust each other.

Peter Socotch, Producer on the road: The Blazers ball movement Sunday night against the Wizards was a thing of beauty. They assisted on 26 of their 39 field goals, none better than a 9 pass possession that ended in a Jake Layman three. When your big man Jusuf Nurkic is toying with a triple-double and has 8 assists in a game, you know you’re having a good game. The Blazers avenged their earlier loss in the season to Washington, a team that is just as dysfunctional as they seem.

Side note: There continues to be a lot of support from Rip City in the nation’s capital. Blazers fans always show up here.

***Be sure to check back here throughout tonight for locker room videos with Coach Stotts and the players, plus locker room reports from Jamie Hudson and Dwight Jaynes***

NEXT UP: The Blazers head to New York on Tuesday, November 20th, to take on the Knicks.  Tip-off is set for 4:30pm with coverage beginning at 3:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest.

Otto Porter Jr. will be a game-time decision vs. Blazers

Otto Porter Jr. will be a game-time decision vs. Blazers

Before the Trail Blazers and Wizards tip-off for a Sunday afternoon contest, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and Wizards head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media.

There are no new updates from the Trail Blazers on Seth Curry (right knee) or Maurice Harkless (left knee).

With Curry out for his second straight contest, Coach Stotts says the game will dictate how the rotation goes and who will get Curry’s minutes. 

As for the Wizards, Otto Porter Jr. woke up with a sore lower leg that he may have suffered in the last game, but Coach Brooks did know exactly how or when Porter suffered the injury. Porter said he is feeling better today, but he he will be a game-time decision.

Coach Brooks also added that Porter will go through warm-ups and then they will make a decision, but he does feel that Porter will play today.

Brooks also discussed how Damian Lillard’s range “is unlimited” and he feels that you have got to be focused on the Blazers' pick and roll. Brooks also had this to say about Lillard and CJ McCollum:

“We did a good job on those two guys in Portland and we have to do it again today.”

“We seemed to be a step slow on both ends of the floor last game,” Brooks added. -- The Wizards are coming off a 115-104 loss to the Nets Friday night, which ended a season-best three-game winning streak. In the loss, Dwight Howard had a season-high 25 points and 17 rebounds.

 

Coach Stotts

 

 

Coach Brooks

Which basket are the Blazers shooting at? Well, that depends

Which basket are the Blazers shooting at? Well, that depends

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ever wonder why some nights your favorite NBA team starts off a game shooting at the basket NOT in front of your seat?

I mean, some games they do and some they don’t? What’s up with that?

I’ve gotten that question enough times lately that it might be time to explain the whole thing again. And there’s more to it than you might expect.

The visiting team at NBA games is allowed to choose which direction it will shoot at the start of the game.

And you can see that right away because teams always open the game shooting at the basket where they warmed up. But really, it’s more about the way the team is shooting to END the game. (And you do realize that teams change ends at halftime, right?)

Bottom line: There has been a change in philosophy in the last few seasons about all this. For a while, teams wanted their defense in front of their bench in the fourth quarter. It’s about being able to communicate best with your players as the game comes to an end.

But now, the trend seems to be that teams want their offense in front of their bench in the second half of the game. The Portland Trail Blazers are one of those teams.

But remember, your team is going to get its wish only on the road.

At home, it is at the mercy of the visiting team, which may want the same thing. Portland Coach Terry Stotts said he made the switch to offense in the fourth quarter as a bit of a change of pace for his team.

“We actually changed that a year and a half ago in Orlando and we’ve stayed with it ever since,” he said. “San Antonio and Utah do it. A lot of the ‘Pop’ disciples do it, but honestly, it kind of turned our season and we just stayed with it. It changed things up.”

These things tend to go in cycles in a league that is often characterized as “copycat.”

“When I grew up, everybody wanted their offense in front of them in the second half,” Stotts said. “And then somewhere along the line, I don’t know where it was, coaches wanted defense in the second half.”

In the era when NBA teams called set plays many times down the floor and especially at the end of games, having the defense in front of your own bench was very important.

But the NBA is drifting toward more read-and-react offense where plays have so many options, there’s not much help the bench can provide.

“Actually, I think the way the league is going, there’s less play calls, used to be you’d get a play call (and be able to alert your defense to what may be coming) … but now there are more actions than play calls,” Stotts said. “So calling out what the opponent is going to do isn’t as important in my mind.”

And with fewer set plays called, there is more opportunity for an offense to get confused or bogged down, meaning help from the sideline is useful.

“I do think I can help our team out with the offense,” Stotts said. “Sometimes just to make sure everybody has the play call. I think it’s gotten to the point where you can help your team more on offense.”

And so, I guess, if you want to buy a ticket at the end of the court where your favorite team will be shooting at the end of the game, if you’re a Trail Blazer fan, the only way to ensure that is to catch a road game.

In Moda Center, the visiting team just might cross you up.

Rip Citizens Ep.1 featuring Portugal. The Man

usatsi_5680150.jpg
usa today img.

Rip Citizens Ep.1 featuring Portugal. The Man

In Portland, you are more likely to find someone wearing some sort of Portland Trail Blazers merchandise than just normal wear. The highly-noticable red and white Blazers pinwheel is seen everywhere: Beanies, car decals, or perhaps the occasional basement filled with memorabilia. 

The community of Portland shows its love for the Trail Blazers in many different ways. And the Trail Blazers are giving back. According to their Facebook page, Rip Citizens is an offbeat NBA podcast filtered through the lens of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Here is a sneak preview of episode one of this series celebrating the culture and the community surround the Portland Trail Blazers: 

Trail Blazer defense wasn't good enough to erase THAT offensive show

Trail Blazer defense wasn't good enough to erase THAT offensive show

MINNEAPOLIS – Defense has been a proud possession of the Portland Trail Blazers in this early part of the season.

But it wasn’t good enough Friday night to make up for a woeful offensive performance by the Trail Blazers that resulted in a wire-to-wire 112-96 Timberwolves’ win over Portland.

The Blazers’ starting lineup went 3-18 from three-point range. The team total was just 8-29. Put that together with 18 turnovers that resulted in 22 points.

This game was decided in the first half, when Portland had 13 of those turnovers for 18 points and allowed eight offensive rebounds.

That set a tone – and a 12-point deficit – that was impossible to overcome in the final two quarters.

“The first half was frustrating because of our turnovers and the offensive rebounds,” Portland Coach Terry Stotts said. “We gave them too many opportunities. We dug the hole in the first half because of that.”

Al-Farouq Aminu, who did an outstanding defensive job on Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, offered some wisdom on the evening’s outcome.

“In these types of games we have to do better defensively,” he said. “I don’t want to be the kind of team just relying on our offense. We have to take it to another level on defense when we have trouble on offense.

“We have to make it a defensive battle. We have to play defensive games as well as offensive games.”

Well said.

Minnesota shot 50 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range.

“We allowed them to have second or third opportunities,” Damian Lillard said.  “Our offense wasn’t going for us. You can’t hurt yourself by giving them extra opportunities but that’s what we did. The offensive rebounds and we turned the ball over.”

Lillard, who is still playing with a right knee that isn’t 100 percent, made only 1 for 7 from three-point range. Very often, players suffering from knee troubles have a problem with outside shooting, because getting adequate lift on their shot from deep is difficult off sore knees.

But Lillard wouldn’t even consider using that as an excuse.

“I am not going there,” he said sternly. “When I was shooting, it felt fine.”

Evan Turner, who went scoreless in 21 minutes, was asked to sum up the game.

“It was tough,” he said. “We didn’t get our pop going. They scored a lot on the second opportunities. Stuff just wasn’t going our way. They went on a great run and played a great game tonight.

“I don’t think it will be something that will stay like that. We’ll get back to getting stops and getting into transition. It will be all good.”

And the next chance to make it all good will be Sunday in Washington against the Wizards.

The Fearless Rookie: Anfernee Simons stays ready just like his coach and teammates knew he would

The Fearless Rookie: Anfernee Simons stays ready just like his coach and teammates knew he would

The Portland Trail Blazers ran into a Minnesota Timberwolves team who is starting to get things figured out after trading away a disgruntled Jimmy Butler for Robert Covington and Dario Saric from Philly.

With the Timberwolves taking down the Blazers 114-96 on Friday night, Minnesota has now won three straight since the trade.

It was a different looking Blazers' rotation in Minnesota for Portland with backup guard Seth Curry (right knee) out after suffering a knee injury in the Blazers loss to the Lakers on Thursday night.

Enter rookie Anfernee Simons.    

With Curry out, the Blazers rookie gave everyone a glimpse of what the future may look like with an aggressive Simons.

[RELATED]: MRI confirms Seth Curry has a right patellar bone bruise

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts went with the rookie over Wade Baldwin or anyone else on the bench because Simons has proved to his coach, he deserves to be out there when opportunity comes.

“I thought he was the best option. You know, I thought he’s played well. I like the idea that he runs, he shoots. I think he earned the spot. I thought he was a good compliment to Nik and Evan,” Stotts said. 

Simons entered the game at the start of the second quarter for Al-Farouq Aminu and he made his presence known early. After missing his first two shots, Simons didn't shut down, but instead, went on the attack and made a driving layup.

“I just try to be aggressive. They obviously appreciate me being aggressive. So I wanted to come in there and obviously try and not do too much, but you know, once the opportunity is there you take the shot and just live with the results,” Simons said. 

Simons finished with seven points after going 3-of-7 from the field. This was his first shot at non-garbage time minutes. He played eight minutes in the first half and ended the game with 13 minutes of action.  

“Since coach has been talking to me the past couple of days or something, I just stayed ready and make sure I knew all the plays. I think I did pretty well. Frist time coming in there, actually getting, playing in the mix of it. I think I played pretty well, played good defense,” Simons said.

But changing up the Blazers rotation can throw a wrench in things. Coach Stotts decided to play Damian Lillard longer minutes in the second half instead of going back to Simons. Lillard played 37 minutes and scored 16 points. It was CJ McCollum who led the way in scoring with 18 points.

“Not having Seth kind of changed the rotation a little bit. I thought Anfernee did a nice job in the first half, but I think the dye was kind of cast in the first quarter, it was just the offensive rebounds and the turnovers that kind of set the tone,” Stotts said.

But there’s no arguing that this is a playmaking 6’4 wing who showed on Friday night he has no fear and he’s teammates recognize just that.

“I thought he went out there, he was aggressive, he was fearless, he knew what was going on so I thought he did a great job,” Lillard said.

For Simons, he made sure to hammer home the fact that he is staying ready at all times.

“Knowing the personnel and making sure you gotta be ready at all times. Even though you might not be playing, you got know everybody’s tendencies, each play and each points just to try and help the team win in someway even when you’re on the bench,” Simons said.

And his teammates are always making sure he knows that, even though he’s a rookie, he has the green light.

“They tell me all the time-- be aggressive. They see in practice that I’m able to score the ball well and I try to show that each time I’m out on the court,” Simons said.

When you don’t know when you’ll see the floor next, it’s all about the preparation leading up to your opportunity and Lillard has come to realize that his 19-year-old teammate is committed to being ready.

“Some nights when I got back to shoot after practice and I go back at eight o’clock, seven, eight o’clock sometimes and he’ll be there shooting, so, you know that he’s preparing himself for moments like tonight where he gets thrown out there when the game really matters instead of either we getting blown out or blowing somebody out and he’s getting the last three minutes,” Lillard said.

There’s no timetable yet on Curry’s return. He did say he hopes to be back by the end of the road trip, but there’s one thing everyone knows now if they didn’t already, the kid from IMG Academy is waiting in the wings if Coach Stotts calls his name.

And everyone is Rip City realizes that having Lillard to look up to and learn from, not to mention having Lillard be confident in you, makes getting out and being aggressive in meaningful minutes that much easier for a rookie.