There are more than a few reasons as to why the Milwaukee Bucks went all-in on Damian Lillard this summer. He is arguably the best shooter in the NBA right now who isn’t named Stephen Curry, and this is definitely one of the factors that will allow Dame to make a significant impact on his new team early on.
Perhaps an even more important factor to consider is how he will be able to unlock Giannis Anteotkounmpo.
Damian Lillard’s Milwaukee Bucks Arrival
Dame has been the Portland Trail Blazers’ best player for the greater majority of his 11-year tenure with the squad. During this time, he’s been the focal point of opposing defenses on a nightly basis. Despite the fact that Lillard is now entering Year 12 of his career, this won’t be changing anytime soon.
“It makes sense. Lillard is among the best pick-and-roll operators the league’s ever seen. More importantly, he has to be defended with at least one body from the moment he crosses half court. Every opposing coach knows Lillard is liable to fire from the logo, and the threat of his deep heaves necessarily pulls attention away from the basket and Lillard’s teammates,” wrote Bleacher Report.
Needless to say, the opposition will need to pay a lot of attention to Lillard whenever they face off against the Bucks.
The Dame Effect
In fact, the folks from Bleacher Report believe that Dame’s arrival is going to work wonders for Giannis Antetokounmpo. So much so, that the former back-to-back MVP is predicted to have the best season of his career in terms of his efficiency on the floor:
“Antetokounmpo will need to adjust to these new circumstances, and it’s still true that defenses won’t worry about him as a spot-up threat away from the ball. But whether he’s screening for Lillard, cutting or ducking into the lane, Antetokounmpo is going to see less defensive focus than he has in years.
“As much as anything else, Lillard’s presence means Antetokounmpo won’t be tasked with creating shots on his own or handling late-clock bailout duties, cutting out his least efficient looks entirely,” wrote B/R.
Last season, Giannis made 55.3 percent of his attempts all year long. This is a significant dip from his career-high field goal rate of 57.8 percent, which he posted during the 2018-19 season.
Anteotkounmpo is now predicted to beat that mark this season.
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