The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo-Damian Lillard era is officially upon us. The NBA’s latest superstar pairing kicked things off on Sunday with a preseason win against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Crypto.com Arena.
For his part, Giannis logged just 15 minutes in the tune-up game. However, he spent enough time on the floor with Lillard to come to an eye-opening realization about what the future holds for this newly formed duo.
Milwaukee Bucks Star Giannis Antetokounmpo Reacts to First Game With Damian Lillard
Antetokounmpo realized early on that Lillard’s arrival is truly going to have a massive impact on Giannis’ game:
“I’ll be very honest,” Antetokounmpo said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN, “I’ve never been this open. And first of all, I’ve never seen anybody being double-teamed from the first possession of the game.”
This is the harsh reality the rest of the NBA will be dealing with. They will need to pick their poison when it comes to Giannis and Dame because covering both of them at the same time is going to be close to impossible.
Teams will be able to figure out a game plan against these two sooner or later, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be any less dominant.
Dame is Giannis’ Mini-Me
While their first few minutes on the floor may have left a significant impression on Giannis, the Bucks talisman admits that what has stood out for him even more is how Lillard carries himself outside the basketball court:
“I feel like it’s like a little version of me,” Antetokounmpo said. “A guard version. … Quiet. Goes about his business. Takes care of his family. Shows up. Practices really hard. Helps his teammates when he needs to be vocal. … And when the game starts, he’s just a killer.”
This is pretty much Giannis describing himself — especially the killer part.
“I learned so much from him,” Antetokounmpo said of Lillard. “He knows how to play this game. He puts himself in position to be successful. He helps us and puts me in position to be successful.”
The fact that Giannis claims to have already learned so much from Dame in the limited time they’ve been together should be a cause for concern for the rest of the league. Just imagine how much more Antetokounmpo can gain out of this partnership in the coming months. And of course, vice versa.
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