Trail Blazers

Lillard made a bold prediction with Jaylen Hoard -- and it came true

Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers rookie Jaylen Hoard signed a two-way contract with the Blazers back on July 1, 2019.

In the G-league, Hoard averaged 16.2 points and 6.8 rebounds while playing in 24 games for the Texas Legends.

Despite only playing in 13 regular season games for Portland and three playoff games, Hoard showed off his athleticism, his potential, and a work ethic in his limited time on the floor.

“For the whole summer, I had just planned to work on my game and get better for next season,” Hoard explained in his special YouTube series. 

That was until he got a very important phone call from his agent.

He told me that the team wanted me to join them in the Bubble.

Jaylen Hoard

As a two-way player, Hoard wasn’t positive he’d be back with the Blazers for the NBA’s resumption this summer.

But as documented in a YouTube special called Inside The NBA Bubble With Jaylen Hoard - Part 1, Hoard was grateful for the Orlando opportunity. 

In the Youtube series, fans get an inside look at life in the Orlando Bubble as Hoard reminisces about what it was like to quarantine for the first two days as well as going through training camp and the seeding games.

The 21-year-old forward gives us an inside look into the Disney World hotels, the Blazers’ locker room, and more.

He also points to the Trail Blazers playing at such a high level in the NBA restart because of the return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. 

 

“One thing I noticed from practices already during training camp was how much Nurk and Zach made a difference,” Hoard said. “Having them back gave us much more versatility.”

Hoard mentioned how Gary Trent Jr.’s play in Orlando was impressive saying, “Gary took his game to a new level during the bubble. He was one of the best three-point shooters in the bubble. He was playing amazing defense. I feel like that helped us a lot."

Every game was a must-win, that’s how I feel the whole team played the whole way through. 

Jaylen Hoard

But, it was a lunch date that he had with Damian Lillard following the Blazers loss to the Clippers that Hoard will never forget.

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard has perfect clap back to Patrick Beverley, Clippers taunting

The Blazers lost to the Clippers in their fifth seeding game as Portland fell to 3-2 overall at the point of the restart.

I was getting my pregame lunch and Dame was there. At one point, he told me -- ‘I’m done playing with these dudes. These next couple of games, I’m not playing around.’ And from there on there was no stopping Dame.

After that lunch between Lillard and Hoard, the Trail Blazers five-time All-Star took over.

Lillard scored 51 points in the Blazers following game in a 124-121 victory over the 76ers and then followed that up with 61 points in Portland’s 134-131 win over Dallas. To wrap-up the Blazers seeding games, Lillard led the charge once again with 42 points as Portland defeated Brooklyn, 134-133.

One thing’s for certain: Lillard wasn’t lying to Hoard during their lunch in the bubble. 

Check out Part 1 of the two-part series about Hoard’s experience in the Orlando Bubble, as he teamed up with Paris based Photographer Charly G: 

[WATCH HERE]

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest David Lucas.]