Lillard’s goal: Become best player in NBA next season

Naveen Ganglani
Lillard’s goal: Become best player in NBA next season

Josh Albelda/ABS-CBN

'There's a lot of things I can improve on and a lot more things I want to get done,' says Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard

MANILA, Philippines – Despite having a career year in the latest NBA season, Portland Trail Blazers all-star Damian Lillard plans on improving even more with a specific goal in mind: to become the best player in the NBA.

In order to do that, the 25-year-old believes one of the things he needs to accomplish is to get lighter.

“There’s a lot of things I can improve on and a lot more things I want to get done, so that’s what I’m focused on now,” the Oakland, California native said on Tuesday, June 14, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Lillard is currently in the Philippines for his second visit to the country, this time courtesy of Adidas which is promoting his latest signature shoe.

The 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year held a press conference at the Kerry Sports Gym in Shangri-la at the Fort on Tuesday afternoon before getting to the Big Dome, where he participated in a 3-point shootout, coached a team of college and PBA players during a scrimmage, and even rapped for the fans.

“First of all,” Lillard said about his tasks for the offseason, “I want to get my body right, let my body recover from this long season.”

Lillard averaged a career-high 25.1 points, 6.8 assists, and 4 rebounds a game last season while shooting 42% from the field, 38% from deep, and 89% from the foul line. 

Even if the Trail Blazers lost 4 starters during the offseason, Lillard helped lead the franchise to a 44-38 record and to the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers the series prior.

“We had a decent playoff run, but [I’ll] just watch a little bit of film, address some of the things I didn’t do so well – a lot of the shots that I didn’t make a high percentage of [and] getting my body in better shape,” said Lillard, who lists at 195 pounds.

“This season, I want to play a little bit lighter than I have the past two seasons,” he added. “Just to take weight off my feet, get a little quicker, more explosive, a little more bouncy, just things like that.”

Lillard was speaking at center court with host KC Montero. Before answering a question about what else he wants to do when the 2016-2017 NBA season rolls around, a fan in the audience screamed “MVP!”

“It’s a goal of mine and I think this season was just the step in the right direction for me,” Lillard then said. “Like I said, there’s a lot of things I feel like I can get better at and a lot more I want to accomplish.”

Wherever he hopes to get, according to the Trail Blazers star, will depend on the work he puts in during this offseason.

“This summer is going to be huge, and going into next season that’s what my goal is going to be – to be the best player in the league next season.” –

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