When you look at Damian Lillard’s summer, the word “offseason” is misleading.
In the last three months, Lillard eliminated the Houston Rockets from the NBA playoffs with a buzzer-beating three-pointer, worked out with Team USA before just missing the final cut by the slimmest of margins, and now he’s the cover star of EA Sports’ NBA Live 15 video game.
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) August 25, 2014
We caught up with Lillard last week, before Team USA announced the final roster.
What was your reaction when you found out you were going to be on the cover?
“Right away, I didn’t believe it. When I first started working with EA Sports, there was a line of point guards all worthy of being on the cover, so when I found out it was me, I was really excited.”
How were they able to capture your signature moves?
“I spent the day in the arena with them where they captured my moves, my movements and my celebration, my shot, my crossover. While I was doing it, I could see it on the big screen. They captured everything I was doing, even if I was messing around, dancing.”
Before you came to the NBA, what was your go-to video game team?
“Always used the Warriors, my hometown team.”
What was it like competing against John Wall in Team USA practice every day?
“It was fun because John Wall is one of my best friends in the NBA. Just having to compete against his size and athleticism and how competitive he is, it makes you raise your game to another level to be able to compete against him period. It was great playing against him in camp, great having him around, going through this whole experience with a friend of mine. I hated to see him go, but I’m sure he got something from the experience to make it better for him next season.”
How do you think the Wizards back court stacks up in the East?
“They should be one of the top backcourts in the league, period. Not just the East. You’ve got a guy like John, who’s 6’4, lightning fast, a crazy athlete, can really pass the ball and really make the team go. And then you got a guy like Brad, who’s a pure two-guard, really athletic, he can shoot the ball, he can make plays. I think they play really well together and should have another great season together.”
I know Chandler Parsons also practiced with the team did you joke at all with him that you gave him his last memories as a Houston Rocket?
“We talked about it. It came up a bunch of times in Chicago first couple of days. But ever since then, it’s been quiet.”
What would be a successful season for Portland?
“If we can be better than we were this season. That doesn’t mean make it past where we this year. We can better defensively, we can play. If we can play a full season 0f unselfish basketball and just be able to stay steady, that would make us a better team than we were this year. I think that can past the second round, but I think by doing those small things, we could be a better team, that would make it a successful season.”
Who do you think is the favorite in the East?
“I think the favorite is wherever LeBron is.”