Although Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard showed maturity and skill beyond his years on the offensive end last season, the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year was abysmal on defense. But Lillard has listened to the critics and has, according to head coach Terry Stotts, spent his off-season improving his defensive technique.
You’re right, he’s taken to heart, not only what we need to do as a team but what he needs to do as an individual basketball player. His defense has certainly improved, the adjustments we’ve made to our pick-and-roll defense has helped everybody. He has really bought in.
He took a lot of criticism over the summer about defense, I think everybody needs to — they can’t just let a Rookie of the Year go, they need to find fault. He took it to heart, came in this season, you guys know Damian, how committed he is, how good he wants to be. His defense is improving and our team defense is improving and that’s very encouraging for everybody (Blazer’s Edges).
A lot of the reports coming out of Portland’s preseason games indicate there have been improved defensive efforts from players, like center Joel Freeland, who struggled in 2012. Let’s hope that’s indeed the case when the regular season begins.
[Source: Blazer's Edge]