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JUST MY TYPE

March 14, 2016
March 14, 2016

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March 14, 2016

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NCAA TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
COLLEGE BASKETBALL
  • The tiny Spanish island of Gran Canaria is home to a tour operator that handles college basketball teams' off-season trips—and to an academy that DEVELOPS PROSPECTS. Is there a link between booking tours and landing recruits?

NBA
  • Distant and accessible to only a few, the game's most dominant defender and underrated superstar desperately cultivates greatness, if not an image. He also is giving a second wind to the Spurs' dynasty, the best bet to unseat the Warriors

Patrick Kane
  • On the ice, it all comes so easily for Patrick Kane. Life off it is more complicated, whether he's behaving immaturely—or worse—or navigating a hometown that bred him to be the best but can also bring out his worst

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JUST MY TYPE

By Interview by Dan Patrick

DAMIAN LILLARD

This is an article from the March 14, 2016 issue

FOUR THE HARD WAY

The Trail Blazers' 25-year-old point guard, who was averaging 25.8 points and 6.9 assists at week's end, believes that the increasing reliance of the three-point shot in the NBA could force long-range shooters to go even farther downtown.

DAN PATRICK: How did not making the All-Star team this year affect you?

DAMIAN LILLARD: Last year when I didn't make it and then ended up being put in as a reserve, I was even more frustrated. So coming into this season, I was already expecting the worst. I'm in the top five [in the league] in scoring and assists, and my team was in seventh place [in the West] coming into the All-Star break. I don't know what happened. I don't think it was a fair vote.

DP: I think the media has to go out of their way to find Portland. If you played in Chicago, Miami or New York, you would have been an All-Star.

DL: I'm not gonna say you're wrong. That's why I say something maybe went wrong [with the voting]. Maybe people went out of their way to get their player voted in. You never know. There's a lot of politics involved.

DP: What do you think of Mark Cuban's suggestion to move the three-point shot?

DL: I don't know. The line is pretty deep now, and you still have so many guys shooting it so easily. I think they'll add a four-point line before they move back the three-point line.

DP: Would you be in favor of a four-point shot?

DL: Absolutely.

DP: How far out?

DL: I don't know—maybe two feet behind the three-point line. I'm sure it'll be deep. They don't want guys coming down and getting 12 points in three possessions.

DP: How do you explain Steph Curry's three-point range?

DL: Some people are just born shooters. As a kid you have the ability to shoot the ball. You work on it, and it gets easier. I think he's one of those guys who [always] had a good feel for shooting. When I was a kid, I shot from really far all the time because I was short. Now, shooting from deep is not a problem for me.

DP: Both you and your backcourtmate C.J. McCollum stayed in school for four years. Could you have come out after your freshman year [at Weber State]?

DL: Absolutely not. It's different for certain guys. Look at [Pelicans center] Anthony Davis. He went to school one year and then was the No. 1 pick. That was just his time. He was the best player available, and he was ready to be an NBA player. It took me longer. I was only 6'2". My game wasn't developed. I needed to be a lot stronger. It took me four years. But [staying] was also huge for my development as a person. I had to become more of a man and be more mature in certain situations.

GUEST SHOTS

SAY WHAT?

Former NBA forward Chris Webber recalled how Michael Jordan tried to intimidate his team before a 1997 playoff game. "He's sitting on his Ferrari in the arena [parking lot]," Webber said. "He's smoking a freaking cigar. We [the Bullets] get off the bus, and he's like, 'Yo, who's checking me today?'" ... Billionaire investor and Omaha native Warren Buffett explained why he never bought a pro team. "Maybe if I lived in a city that had one," Buffett said. "[But] with the popularity of University of Nebraska football we have a terrific rooting interest here, just not in professional sports." ... Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens talked about the Ivy League's proposed ban on tackling in practice: "Everyone should step away from the paranoia about taking things away and ask, Do we really need this much contact?"

PHOTOMICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)PHOTOANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES (LILLARD)PHOTOCHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP (WEBBER)PHOTOADAM JEFFERY/CNBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK/GETTY IMAGES (BUFFETT)PHOTOCOURTESY OF DARTMOUTH ATHLETICS (TEEVENS)