Today is December 1, which means the unofficial return to the NBA.
Already? Yes, already.
After the NBA’s restart down in Orlando, Florida concluded on October 11, ending a more than year-long quest for a championship, the NBA is right back to it with teams beginning individual workouts and training camps this week. The Portland Trail Blazers will take the court once again for preseason action against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, December 11.
But, players were in the facility today.
The 72-game season will officially begin on December 22, 2020 and the regular season will wrap up on May 16, 2020. There will be a play-in tournament from May 18-21, 2021 and the playoffs will begin on May 22.
All this to say is that the last two remaining teams will still be playing in the NBA Finals between July 8-22, 2021. Right in the heat of the summer.
While this season is truly something different, the mindset of Damian Lillard remains the same. His message to Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey is simple: “Let’s go for it.”
And ‘go for it’ they have.
Olshey has brought in additional help of Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr. and bringing back Enes Kanter while also retaining Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood back on the roster.
The pieces are in place, and now it’s about execution.
“For me it's just, you know, let's give ourselves a real shot,” Lillard said during a Zoom media conference. “‘You know I want it all.’ And I've been transparent with him [Olshey] about that.”
Ever since Lillard was selected No. 6 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers back in the 2012 NBA Draft, Rip City knows how serious he is about bringing an NBA Championship to Portland. He doesn’t care about building or joining “super teams” or being labeled a “super star,” Lillard cares about hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in the air this July (while perhaps destroying a few franchises along the way).
But July is a busy month for Lillard. Not only is he hoping to be playing in the NBA Finals, but it’s also his birthday (July 15) and about the time the Olympic team will make its selections.
On Monday, Lillard was asked by a reporter if he would make himself available for an Olympic team selection in July and replied honestly:
“Possibly, I don’t know 100 percent yet. See what that look like. That’s around my birthday, hopefully we in the Finals. But if we go to the Finals and win it, I ain’t playing. If we win the Finals, I’m not playing in the Olympics, but, you know we’ll see.”
Then, the haters chimed in.
Ben DuBose, who covers the Houston Rockets had jokes.
While DuBose reporter claims he was just having fun, this was no laughing matter for Dame.
Lillard had to let the course straight.
It shows just how serious he is about bringing an NBA Championship to the city of Portland, to the team that drafted Lillard in the first round back in 2012 and to the city he’s been so loyal to from the very start.
Maybe another diss track from Dame D.O.L.L.A. is in the works, but for right now, please put some respect on his (expletive) name.
DuBose becomes the latest person to learn not to poke the bear that is Damian Lillard.