When Lillard takes it, it’s not a bad shot. Paul George and OKC had to learn it the hard way. Even though George said it was as a bad shot that went in, can’t agree with him on that one. It was immediately after the game and his frustration is understandable, but the NBA has to accept a new reality. Lillard has got RANGE.
This didn’t happen by accident. Last year they were swept in the first round by the Pelicans and Holiday’s defense on Lillard was one of the main reasons for such an outcome. Damian knew he had to improve.
After a month away from basketball, he returned to the gym and the first thing he talked about with his coach was extending his range. He needed to be a threat from deep to make defenders honest. He knew he had the shot, but persistent work was needed to make it comfortable, something he can be confident about in important games (via ESPN).
For the whole summer, and we would go 9 a.m., I would go lifting conditioning from 11 to 1 o’clock and then at 3 o’clock we would come back and just shoot. Sometimes for an hour and a half, sometimes for an hour and it would be all shooting.
Lillard would do everything he would work on from the 3 point line and just move it back, start adding elements to make it more difficult and then worked ’till he felt comfortable making those shots.
His commitment was so strong he made another change – he hired his trainer Phil Begner full time. In the past, he would work with him in the offseason and then just worked with the Blazers staff during the season. This year, he upped his workload and would have extra workouts after regular practice sessions.
Over the course of the season, it wasn’t like I was losing anything, ’cause he’d come to Portland for two weeks and after practice, I’d come back that night and we would just shoot. You know, keep it light. 30 minutes, even if it’s just 30 minutes of light work but you’re stayin’ sharp. The night before games, 30 or 45 minutes.
His trainer would come to Portland for a few weeks at a time, stay in his guest house and the consistency of the work proved itself worthy in the most important moment.
This wasn’t an accident, this is now the norm. Damian Lillard is not going anywhere.