Pairing Damian Lillard with Giannis Antetokounmpo should create plenty of scoring opportunities for the rest of the Bucks‘ offense, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Both players averaged better than 30 points per game last season, so while they’ll have to figure out how to mesh their talents, they provide plenty of individual firepower.
Lillard is a reliable shot maker who will cause opponents to be more reluctant about sagging into the lane to guard Antetokounmpo. Outside shooters Malik Beasley, Pat Connaughton and A.J. Green should all get better looks by playing alongside Lillard, Owczarski notes, while Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis become more dangerous in pick-and-pop actions.
Exchanging Jrue Holiday for Lillard will lead to a drop-off defensively, but Owczarski points out that new head coach Adrian Griffin is installing a system that emphasizes help. With Antetokounmpo and Lopez protecting the rim, the Bucks may be able to cover up Lillard’s shortcomings on defense.
There’s more from Milwaukee:
- The Bucks sent Grayson Allen to Phoenix in the three-team deal, leaving them with 14 guaranteed contracts and the ability to make a roster addition, Owczarski adds. He notes that the team doesn’t have a reserve point guard with a guaranteed deal, so that might be a priority. Backups Lindell Wigginton and TyTy Washington both have two-way contracts. Milwaukee doesn’t control any of its first-round picks until 2031, so it will be difficult to improve the roster through any more trades.
- Hundreds of fans waited for hours outside Fiserv Forum on Saturday for a chance to welcome Lillard to Milwaukee, according to Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports. Lillard acknowledged the crowd, but he didn’t say anything as he walked inside to meet his new team. The Bucks posted a video of Lillard taking a few shots inside the arena.
- Holiday offered a farewell message on Instagram after the trade became official, per JR Radcliffe of The Journal-Sentinel. “Thank you fans! For those who know me best, they know we are all about family,” Holiday wrote. “Milwaukee — you welcomed me and my family into your city, into your homes, into your hearts. We will forever be champions together, and me and my family will forever be grateful and thankful. Until next time, thanks for everything.”