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One of the themes that came through in countless interviews during the Trail Blazers' media days was the fact that Damian Lillard wants to forget about last season.
Sure, he was Rookie of the Year by a wide margin of votes, but he also has plenty of aspects to his game that need to improve.
Lillard was a terrible defender last year. True, the whole team was bad, but Lillard looked lost.
Part of that had to do with the fact that the interior defense offered very little help down low. Another part of Portland's defensive struggles was the amount of effort that Lillard was forced to exert on the offensive side of the ball.
But Lillard still needs to improve, and so far through training camp, he is saying all the right things.
Lillard has the size and quickness to be a good defender and now that he has some help, he should start to answer his critics about his defensive deficiency.
He also will need to continue to look to set up his teammates under the hoop and play better off of pick-and-rolls. The Blazers are a team that is built perfectly for pick-and-roll offense, so Lillard's contributions will be essential.
One thing is clear—Lillard is eager to improve all aspects of his game.