After being eliminated from the postseason Monday night, the Trail Blazers met at their practice facility in Tualatin Tuesday morning for exit interviews, in which each player sits with Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts to briefly discuss their performance during the season and what they should work on during the offseason.
Players also take questions from the media for one last time before going their separate ways, and those interviews can be listened to below.
“I think something that we can be better about as a team is the level of accountability. We all like each other and we all support each other and it’s so positive. But I think with some of those other teams you see Draymond (Green) jumping on KD (Kevin Durant) and he’s not mad at him, he’s not trying to embarrass him but he’s holding him accountable. Whatever that means he needs to do, he’s going to get him to understand what he’s trying to tell him. You see it in the league. You see LeBron (James), you see all these guys, they don’t care about what other people say and all these things, they want their teammates to understand ‘This is what I need, this is what you have to do’ and it’s all for the greater good of the team, for us to get the absolute best and the most out of each other… It’s time for us to demand more of each other. We can still have our brotherhood and have the same relationships but if we really have love for each other — even our coaches, we really have love for each other and we on the same page — and we want to be a championship team and not just a make the playoffs team then we’ve got to demand more from each other.”
“That’s what I’m all about, figuring out ways to get better, figuring out ways to gain an advantage and consistently I’ve improved at something. Since I was 10 years old I’ve figured out a way to get better at something, get more efficient at something. I’ve become a good player but I want to become a great player. I know there’s a lot of things I have to work on to get there and I look forward to the challenge of going through the struggles because that’s when success is that much sweeter.”
“It’s definitely been an up and down year, obviously. It’s one of the craziest years, seasons I’ve been a part of in my seven years. I think what we did after All-Star break is great. We could have mailed it in a bunch of times and we didn’t. We showed our resilience and forged our way to the playoffs.”
“Another thing, just find other ways to just be effective instead of just staying in the corner, coming off pindowns and flares and stuff like that, find easier ways to get it going offensively. I had a couple struggles on the defensive side, so wasn’t too pleased with that, in that area, too much. So just going back, looking at those things and really putting forth that effort this summer and improving on those things.”
“This season was different for me because it’s the first time I’ve been injured. That brings a whole set of things within itself. I’m thankful that I was able to come back healthy, first and foremost. I think that I continued to show my versatility to be able to help this team out because at moments we lost our five-man, we lost a four-man. We didn’t have everything that we needed but we could still grind wins out, be in games and different things like that.”
“First things first, just take a mental break for a week or two. Then get back to work and just continue to get better… There’s a few areas I think. One, I want to continue to get stronger, I want to continue to work on my shot. I’m going to spend a lot more time this summer working on the back to the basket game. Continue to grow all parts of my game.”
“Get back to shooting that midrange, just working on my shooting and being able to space the floor more. I feel like I wasn’t as consistent or didn’t get too much of an opportunity to showcase that too much this year.”
“I’ve said this since the beginning of the season: to be able to play and practice against CJ and Dame each and every day and to do the things and learn from them, it was great for me. I think I’ve learned a lot, more than I’ve learned my past two years, when I got here. Just being around those guys, around this team, around this coach, it was great.”
“My job is to every day be a pro and that’s how I always try to approach it. I try to be the best man that I can be, the best teammate that I can be, first and foremost and also continue to get my work in and try to figure out how I can improve and help the team. That’s why I say that this summer is huge in the fact that I feel healthy and I’m going to be able to play a lot and get a lot of individual work in to work on my game. The NBA in itself is a business. I bought a house, I’ve been here five years, I signed a contract over this past summer. I feel that I can do a lot of good things and I want to be here, but that’s not always in my hands.”