Damian Lillard makes shocking admission about replacing Trevor Ariza
Damian Lillard is no doubt the most important member of the Portland Trail Blazers. However, he knows that every player on the team is equally critical for the success of the franchise in the Orlando bubble restart.
With that said, Dame confessed that losing Trevor Ariza is a huge blow to the team. To recall, Ariza opted out of the bubble games in Walt Disney World in Florida, as he is currently in the midst of a custody battle for his 12-year-old son.
“It’s a big loss,” the Blazers star said of Ariza’s decision to opt out, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I don’t think there’s any way around it. It’s not a situation where you just say, you know, ‘Somebody has to jump in and step up’ even though that’s the truth. It’s just a loss for us but I respect his opinion. If I was in his position I would have done the same thing.
“I think this season we dealt with a lot of adversity. So I think we got to look at that as it’s a blow to our team, but we’re also getting [Jusuf Nurkic] and Zach [Collins] back, and that’s going to be a big help for us. Hopefully, we’re able to move forward and still get done what we want to get done.”
As it stands today, Damian Lillard Blazers sit in ninth place in the always competitive Western Conference, 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.
At 29-37 on the year, the Blazers will head down to Orlando in an attempt to beat out the Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns for the final playoff spot in the West.
It remains to be seen how Ariza’s absence will affect the team. However, the Blazers have already chosen his replacement, signing G-League MVP Jaylen Adams recently.