Averaging only 23.5 minutes per game at Tokyo 2020, Team USA superstar Damian Lillard discloses his true feelings after being benched in crunch time. States no player on the team has an individualistic mentality.
Damian Lillard is one of the best players in the league. Some could even argue that Dame is amongst the greatest point guards of all time, and they wouldn’t really be wrong. The Portland guard is one of the most elite shooters the game has ever witnessed, attracting defenders as soon as he crosses the half-court line.
This past season too, Dame Dolla was on a tear, torching the entire league up. The 6-foot-2 PG was practically unguardable, shooting from way beyond the arc, and dropping 40 points at will. Lillard averaged an impressive 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. And even elevated his game in the postseason recording a sensational 34.3/10.2/4.3 average, only to get knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. However, for his successful individual 2020-2021 campaign, he was very well rewarded as he was selected for his 6th All-Star Games and the All-NBA 2nd team.
After the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season, Lillard has been devoting his time to representing his country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Dame is one of the 9 All-Stars on the 12-man squad and is easily one of the best and most experienced players on the squad.
Damian Lillard speaks about the unselfishness mentality in the Team USA locker-room
Now, with 12 sensational players, with several future Hall-Of-Famers, it is pretty difficult for only one person to show up. Sadly for all Trail Blazers fans, they haven’t really seen a lot of Damian Lillard action at the Games. Dame, who averaged 35.8 minutes per game in the league this past year, has only seen an average of 23.5 minutes playing time in the five games the USA has played till now.
Recently, ahead of Team USA’s gold medal matchup bout against France, Damian was asked the one question which has been on every Portland fan’s mind – why has Damian Lillard been seen sidelined during the crunch time of the matches at Tokyo 2020? In an interview with Joe Vardon of “The Athletic”, the 2013 ROY disclosed:
“We’re here for one thing and that’s to win a gold medal. I don’t think any of us come here with the mentality that we got to just dominate every game or score a bunch of points. We’re trying to win the game so we’re going to roll with whatever is working. And that’s that. I think we all understand that.”
The United States are now only one game away from winning their 16th ever gold medal for their country. However, they will be facing an undefeated and motivated France team in their exciting gold-medal clash. Surely, the encounter will be an entertaining one that could very well possibly go down the wire.
Will Team USA win yet another gold proving their dominance in national basketball? Or will France manage to hand The USA a disappointing loss? Eager basketball fans will have to patiently wait and watch. The gold-medal match will tip off on 6th August at 10:30 PM ET.