"I've been making the adjustment of being more vocal, too, being able to tell guys that have already been in the league before me what to do, where they need to be, and just getting used to playing against that level of players," Lillard said. "Any time you're a rookie coming in, you're not used to playing against the best players in the world, so that's a big adjustment."
Lillard has been mentioned as a strong Rookie of the Year candidate, an honor that he would take in stride.
"That's definitely a lot to live up to but, being myself, I just try to stay focused on what I've been doing — working hard — and trying to help the team win games," he said. "As long as I keep doing that and being successful doing that, I probably have a chance."
Lillard was also asked about inevitable comparisons that people make between him and another highly touted Utah collegiate star, BYU's Jimmer Fredette, who was also a lottery pick in 2011 but struggled mightily in his first season with the Sacramento Kings.
"I really don't pay attention to that," Lillard said. "Jimmer is a friend of mine. I've known him since I was at Weber State, and I think he'll be fine in Sacramento. I really don't pay attention to people comparing us based on what we did in college.
"I didn't really get a chance to watch him (last season), because I was more concerned with my season here. But if anything, I just try to keep my confidence up because I know there's going to be bumps in the road. I might have a rough patch this season and next season and probably the year after that, too. But I just need to keep my confidence up so I can stay effective."
Yes, Mr. Lillard — the man WSU play-by-play announcer Carl Arky liked to call "The Great Dame" — has definitely arrived.
And although he realizes his life will be forever changed from here on out, he loves what he's doing and the path his life has taken.
"A lot of people go to college and then when you're done with school you've got to job-hunt," he said. "You've got to figure out what you're gonna do next.
"But for me, I did my four years here and now I'm an NBA player, so I don't have to worry about homework and having a job interview and doing all types of work, because I'm doing what I love to do. So just having to worry about basketball every day and then just going home, that's the best part about it."
Well said, young man. And welcome home.
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