After Monday’s practice, Portland Trail Blazers’ All-Star point guard Damian Lillard emphasized a need for his team to play “mean.” Lillard’s teammate C.J. McCollum joined The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday and agreed with everything he said.
“I think he’s right and not just from a getting a technical standpoint or things like that, just playing hard, playing angry, playing with a chip on our shoulder. That’s what we have to do each night,” McCollum said. “We have to play like someone took our lunch money, like someone disrespected your mother. I think that’s the type of anger you need to have, and the aggression you need to have on the court.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make mad faces or mean faces, but it means attacking the glass, strongly attacking the rim when you have the ball on offense, and somebody’s about to get a layup, you commit that foul and make sure they don’t get the ball up.”
However, producing that mental edge doesn’t come naturally for some. McCollum talked about what it takes to manufacture a mindset like that.
“I think it just comes from within. You got to kind of psyche yourself out, convince yourself,” McCollum said. “It’s kind of like when you see guys get going during the game, maybe it’s somebody talking trash to them and they feel like they were disrespected, or maybe it’s an article they read about them, maybe a reporter was dogging them out. It brings you a different type of fire, a different type of rage that you just have to figure out how to get that to come out from within, it’s different for everyone.”
One person who plays with an edge is Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. McCollum tweeted his appreciation for the polarizing Warriors forward last night, and made it clear to everyone that he’s a fan of Green’s game.
“I think he’s a monster. He’s aggressive, he attacks, he wants it, he wants to win,” McCollum said. “A lot of people have mixed feelings about him, but they can’t ever question how hard he plays and the effort and the importance of him to that Golden State team.”
His defensive versatility is one of the things McCollum respects the most about Green, “Put him onto Dennis Schroder last night . He’s guarding Dwight Howard. He’s guarding Kyle Korver. He’s guarding LaMarcus Aldridge of the Spurs. He’s guarding Kawhi Leonard on switches. He does a great job of defending at a high level, he’s active, and there’s a reason why he’s in the conversation for Defensive Player of The Year every year.”