Apr 1, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) controls the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 112-102. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard hopes to work with Gary Payton this off-season


Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is coming off of a season where he earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors and took home the NBA All-Star Skills Competition, but he is still looking for ways to improve as a player as he prepares for his second professional season and looks to avoid a sophomore slump.

Lillard said on Thursday night that he hopes to work out with NBA steals leader and nine-time all-star Gary Payton.

Mike Tokito of the Oregonian passed along the news:

While Lillard had a phenomenal rookie year, the one area that he could use improvement is on the defensive side of the ball. That is where working out with the former Seattle Supersonics star could only help him get better.

Payton, who was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team a total of nine times, was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year back in 1996.

As Lillard continues to grow as a pro, working with some of the NBA greats will be what can help him take the next step in his career.

Tags: Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers