Damian Lillard quietly had an incredible season for the Portland Trail Blazers last year, averaging 27.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 35.9 minutes per contest.
However, it appears that he wasn’t completely satisfied.
According to Mike Richman of The Oregonian, Lillard, who played last season just under 200 pounds, has made it a priority to shed some weight this offseason in order to enter his sixth NBA season as lighter and faster than ever.
In order to do that, Lillard has added swimming and boxing to his usual basketball workouts and has also switched up his diet in a huge way.
As he showed on Instagram, he’s trying out a vegan diet.
Apparently he’s now down to 190 pounds, which is eight pounds lighter than his listed weight last season. Richman pointed out that his weight was 189 pounds at the 2012 NBA draft combine. It's worth noting that in his rookie season, he played a career-high 38.9 minutes per game, which could or could not be a correlation.
After playing in 275-consecutive games to start his career, Lillard missed seven games in each of the last two seasons due to foot and ankle injuries. Therefore, perhaps he feels as though he can reduce the stress on that area of his body with a slightly slimmer frame.
A few years ago, Lillard was asked about how his diet compared to LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, who took on no-carb plans at the time.
“I wouldn’t even call it a diet… I just got on a more strict meal plan where I don’t eat as much sugar and salt and fried food. Just for health reasons, to feel better and take better care of my body and treat it like the machine that it is so it can function better and longer,” he told Christopher Hunt of Men’s Fitness.
Apparently cutting out junk food has been a major focus for Lillard throughout his career. Via Mike Tokito of The Oregonian, Lillard revealed his guilty pleasures a few years ago.
“I love Benihana with the extra garlic butter and fried rice and all that stuff with steak and chicken,” he said. “I thought it was necessary to cut out. Even Wing Stop. I love Wing Stop, too, lemon pepper wings. I just had to get rid of it. Once I noticed the change in how I felt, I said it was worth it.”
It remains to be seen if the slimmer Lillard will be more effective on the court. Other than drafting Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Blazers have not made any major offseason acquisitions in a Western Conference that got significantly stronger this summer due to the influx of All-Star level talent.
Therefore, they'll need their superstar point guard to take his game to another level if they expect to make a run in the playoffs.