Damian Lillard knows new Milwaukee Bucks teammate Giannis Anteotkounmpo well. These two have dueled on the basketball court many times in the past, and this has given Dame a pretty good idea of just how good the former back-to-back MVP is.
Even Lillard himself admits, however, that it’s much different playing against Giannis than it is being on the same team with him.
Milwaukee Bucks Star Damian Lillard on Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘That’s a Cheat Code’
Lillard hasn’t been around his new teammates for very long. In fact, the 33-year-old has yet to make his Bucks debut as of yet (although reports indicate that he will be available on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers). However, Dame has already seen enough from Giannis to make him realize just how special he truly is.
Lillard recalled a specific play in practice wherein Antetokounmpo demanded for the ball in the post. Dame hesitated because he saw the defenders ganging up on Giannis. He then signaled to Lillard to “just throw it up” because “nobody’s going to get the ball if you throw it up there.” Dame complied and as promised, Giannis snagged the ball in the air before throwing down a two-handed dunk.
“It’s just different because it was like, that’s a cheat code,” Lillard said, via Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “To just be able to throw a ball up and have somebody be coordinated enough to hold his guy off, go up, catch it, come down on balance, go up and no dribble, no step and dunk it, you know, over people. So, I mean, it’s … it’s definitely different, man.”
Giannis Just Continues to Amaze
That was not the only instance wherein Lillard had a “wow” moment with his new superstar teammate. According to Dame, there was another play in practice that pretty much left him widemouthed:
“There was another play where I was taking it out and he kind of set a screen and he cut to the middle and I kind of zipped it in there in traffic,” Lillard said, acting out Antetokounmpo squaring up to the basket and getting to the rim. “There was hands in there and he caught it, and it’s plays like that where I’m just like, ‘Man.’
“The way that I know, in my head, to dominate a game and how I can go above and beyond to do what I need to be able to do, I never played with somebody that I felt like he can do that too, you know? And his stature is just a bigger dude, a more gifted dude than I am, so to see that in that form is just like, ‘Man, this is impressive.’”
There’s going to be a lot more of that this coming season and the reality for Lillard is that Giannis will continue to produce moments that will leave him in awe. That’s just who Antetokounmpo is.
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