UTAHS OWN: Damian Lillard shines in Bucks Debut
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the brightest stars in the NBA. A two-time MVP, a defensive player of the year, a 7-time All-NBA guy and a 5-time All-defensive team player.
Giannis willed Milwaukee to an NBA championship in 2021, and has continued to be one of the largest puzzles for opposing teams to try and figure out. Fittingly dubbed the “Greek Freak” its impossible to find a player that plays like Giannis.
If you enter Bucks country as a new roster addition, it’s to be a supporting player on the Giannis show.
When Damian Lillard was traded to the Bucks this offseason, the duo was highly touted and rightfully so. Damian Lillard was a 7-time All-Star himself, but his accolades with the Portland Trailblazers paled in comparison to Giannis himself.
The Greek Freak didn’t see this as an opportunity to remind the world who had won the championship or who had done this or that. He didn’t say “I was here first”, reminding the world this was team.
Instead, he fully embraced his fellow superstar teammate, even going as far as telling Chris Haynes in regards to the Bucks: “This is his team.”
The former Weber State Wildcat is one of the most dynamic and explosive guards in the entirety of the association, and just because his accomplishments don’t line up with Giannis doesn’t mean he has can’t offer as much.
That unselfishness and willingness to embrace Damian as a main guy if not THEE guy at times shone on Milwaukee’s opening night 118-117 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Giannis got his with 23 points to pair with 13 rebounds, but Lillard was the best player on the floor for the night.
If you want proof that Lillard will be more than a supporting player, check out this moment in the 2nd quarter noted by Kevin O’Connor:
Three straight plays they set Lillard up at halfcourt with a pick. Not at the three-point line, but at the halfcourt line. Opposing defenses have to worry about Dame shaking loose before he even crosses the timeline.
The Bucks are using him as the focal point of it all, and it should allow the team to maximize the other players around him. Dame cannot be a second fiddle type of player.
The Bucks are all in on Dame time, and in a very small sample size it appears to be working.
Lillard knocked down 39 points on 20 tries in 37 minutes. He had 8 rebounds and 4 assists to boot. Not only did this lead all scorers, it set a Bucks franchise record for most points in a Milwaukee debut.
It wouldn’t be a big time Dame game without Dame time as Lillard was sure to offer up some of his clutch playmaking ability enroute to the narrow victory.
Whatever the future holds in Americas Dairyland, Damian seems to be much more than a Robin to anyone’s Batman.