Lillard Takes To Instagram Comments To Defend Stotts

by Casey Holdahl
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Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has never shied away from addressing his detractors on social media. Whether he's addressing complaints about his own play or his questions about his commitment to basketball, the 6-3 point guard has no qualms with defending himself in a public forum.

But Lillard's willingness to hash it out in the comments section doesn't only apply to criticism directed at him. He'll also come to the defense of his coach, as he did Saturday afternoon prior to Portland's 103-90 victory versus the Kings, a team they fell to the 86-82 the night before in Sacramento in their worst loss of the season.

"Everybody that has something to say about coach Stotts doesn't know a damn thing about what it takes to win a close game," Lillard wrote in the comments of a post on the Trail Blazers' Instagram account. "Players have to play and get the job done."

When a team struggles, as the Trail Blazers have at times through 16 games this season, the head coach is always going to take the brunt of criticism. Fair or not, that's just part of the job. But as Lillard goes on to imply  in his comment, four of Portland's seven losses this season have been the result of late game mistakes by the players, not the coaching staff. After seeing an increase in what he considers misplaced blame, Lillard figured it was time to say something.

"Because people think they know more about what it takes to get things done at this level for our team than they actually do," said Lillard on why he took to the comments section to defend his head coach. "We in this position for a reason. Coach Stotts has had two 50-win seasons here, four straight years in the playoffs for a reason: because he knows what he's doing. They mention about our record is 8-7 and we having breakdowns late in the games, but those breakdowns are a missed shot here, a turnover there, defensive breakdown here, giving up extra possessions, missed free throws. It's things that players control."

Not only was Lillard defending Stotts, he was also taking ownership for the mistakes he and the rest of the players have made through the first month of the 2017-18 season. It would have been easy enough to defend Stotts without also addressing the real issues the team has faced, but Lillard has never been one to take the easy way out. So rather than just taking it off Stotts, he put it on himself and his teammates.

"If we were down 30 every game, that's different, but we in position to win games," said Lillard. "And when it's time to win games, that's the players' job, so the fact that somebody, a group of people would be on that topic, I just thought it was disrespectful and it need to be addressed."


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