Chauncey Billups had a chance to coach Damian Lillard for two full seasons before the latter took his talents to the Milwaukee Bucks. Their time together may have been brief, but Billups was able to see enough from Dame to determine just how special this superstar truly is.
Even from the outside, it’s not hard to tell that Dame is an all-time great. However, it’s still different to witness the seven-time All-NBA point guard put in the work behind the scenes to be the killer that he is on the basketball court.
Chauncey Billups Reveals What’s Different With Milwaukee Bucks’ Damian Lillard
Billups recently opened up about the massive transition he’s seen in his former superstar now that Lillard is in Milwaukee. The third-year head coach explained that in Portland, they needed Dame to be the go-to guy every single game. This is no longer the case with the Bucks.
“We needed him to be special, special, special every night for us to have a chance,” Chauncey Billups said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He doesn’t have to be that over there. He can kind of fall back and play-make a lot more than he had the ability to do here. I’ve seen that as I’ve watched them. He can be so much more patient in picking his spots now. Teams have been blitzing him and trapping him. Here, when they trapped him we needed him to try to get out of that trap some and still go make a play. Now, when they trap him he can just kind of bait the trap, get in the pocket to Giannis and just watch the team fly.”
You have to give Lillard a lot of credit for being able to transition his game the way he has thus far. It also helps, though, that he has Giannis Antetokounmpo as a teammate.
“He’s got the right mentality and personality and humility that he has allows him to take a step back and try to fit in as opposed to try to come and say no, y’all playing with me,” Billups said. “He’s not that type of person.”
Whatever It Takes
Former Blazers assistant coach John McCullough echoed Billups’ sentiments. At the end of the day, the most important thing for Dame is getting the W.
“I’m not sure he’s out to get his, but he just gets his in the rhythm of everybody else,” said McCullough, now the director of player development for the University of Tulsa women’s basketball team.
“That is the great character of Dame. He wants to win. If it takes dropping 40, he’s going to do it. If it takes helping somebody else do it, that’s what is going to happen that night. I mean, he can get points if he wants to get points but he wants to win games. He wants to win a championship.”
It’s no secret that Lillard joined the Bucks with a sole objective in mind. After seeing how the Bucks have evolved into the powerhouse that they are today, Dame might just get his wish in his first season in Milwaukee.
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