How can Trail Blazers help Damian Lillard?
Now that he's surrounded by an inexperienced supporting cast that's filled with zero All-Stars or even above-average NBA talent, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard will be the focus of every defense he faces this season.
Life won't be easy. He'll get double teamed and run into situations where he needs teammates to put the ball in the basket. How much of a problem is this for Portland? SB Nation's Blazer's Edge says it's something to definitely keep an eye on, and here's how Lillard may deal with the extra stress:
McCollum can create his own shot, but so can Gerald Henderson (to a certain extent). Elsewhere, Portland's best hope is to pray its defense can stop the other team consistently enough to earn opportunities in transition.
This will be a rough season for the Trail Blazers and their best player.
Strategic Counter #1 is going to be CJ McCollum. He can take ball-handling pressure off of Dame. If CJ can also hit a shot–catch-and-shoot three or leaner off the dribble–defenses will split and Lillard will find seams. The other Really Big Deal in helping Lillard's offense will be motion, particularly catches by big men on the way to the rim. When Portland's frontcourt players donate a defender to a squeeze on Damian, their first response should be diving to the rim. Lillard could make a living lofting up alley-oop after alley-oop to athletic leapers this season. That kind of easy bucket in the halfcourt would be a godsend.