Speaking at the Basketball Hall of Fame late last week, Damon Stoudamire had a few interesting things to say about the Portland Trail Blazers, a team he spent eight seasons playing for.
He touched on several different subjects, including the 'Jail Blazers' and all the success they experienced at the turn of the century.
Stoudamire's most interesting comments, though, were about Damian Lillard, Portland's current franchise point guard. Here's what he told MassLive's Tom Westerholm:
"MassLive: Do you think Damian Lillard can be that guy who brings it back together in Portland?
Stoudamire: (Pauses) Man, I'm praying for him, because they don't have a lot. I love Lillard, I just hope in a strange kind of way that the fans don't beat him down, because they start looking at his money and what he makes and putting it on his shoulders. You know how it works. You have to get a supporting cast now. Four of the starting five are gone. I know it's a lot riding on his shoulders. I've been that guy where you are playing 40 minutes a night and you are getting numbers, but you are losing. The only difference is he's on a franchise that won 55 games, 50, so the expectation is different. I think if he does start to get beat down, everybody has to be accountable for that hit. It can't be on one guy. He didn't make any of those decisions himself."
Stoudamire averaged 12.8 points and 5.7 assists per game during his tenure in Portland. His speedy play-making ability made life a bit easier for great teammates like Rasheed Wallace, Scottie Pippen and Steve Smith.
But Stoudamire also knows about being surrounded by inexperienced players who aren't nearly as good. That's exactly what Lillard will go through this season.