Traded to the Bucks two weeks ago, Damian Lillard is starting to figure out his new team. Dame realized one thing in particular in Milwaukee: playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo is still super fun.
In just a few practices, Dame learned how easy basketball could be with a guy like Giannis on his team. Not that it surprised him, because Lillard already knew the phenomenon, but being around the Freak on a daily basis makes you aware of certain things.
“I remember an action. It was in training. I came out of a screen and there was a guy in front of him. I could pass to Giannis, but the defender on the weak side was there and I didn’t want him to intercept the ball.
Giannis pointed in the air, so I gave him a high pass. He jumped, he caught the ball, turned and did a quick two-handed dunk. I thought, “I’ve never played with a guy who can do that.”
So it’s different, it’s simply a cheat code.”
– Damian Lillard, via The Athletic
“Juskekode”, the term is well chosen. But the real cheat code for the Bucks this coming season is precisely this relationship between Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the way the two can maximize their respective talents.
Any conversation with Damian Lillard about his new home obviously begins with his most decorated teammate, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks’ new star spoke to @eric_nehm about his first week in Milwaukee.
– It definitely feels different.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) 11 October 2023
On the one hand we have the Freak with his immense power, his skill abilities, his Superman side that destroys everything in his path. On the other side, we have a true sniper, a playmaker who is able to draw from anywhere and kill the opponent in the run of the money. It is difficult to be more comprehensive. Pick & rolls between the two superstars will become a weapon of mass destruction, Lillard will open up space for Giannis and vice versa, and the two should be able to find each other at any time thanks to their passing qualities.
“At one point I got around an inside and was waiting for a defensive help, but I found myself under the basket to make a layup. Another time coming off a Giannis screen and the inside didn’t care where he was, I faked a pass to Giannis who raced to the basket.
I feel like there are a lot of options, whereas before everyone made sure I dropped the ball. So it’s very different.”
– Damian Lillard
The fit between Lillard and Giannis is clearly very promising. Not only through their game, but also through their personalities, neither of them wanting to overshadow the other. Dame wants to maximize Freak’s superhuman qualities, and the latter is ready to do anything (set screens, open spaces, create opportunities in transition, etc.) so that Damian can play his basketball, as a scorer and playmaker.
This promises big offensive explosions for the Bucks in their quest for the ultimate title, especially when we know that the rest of the team consists of players like Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez.
We could get a first glimpse of the madness this Sunday in the preseason against the Lakers.
Text source: The Athletic
Also read: Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Bucks, already the… best duo in the NBA?