If you look at his numbers, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Damian Lillard has regressed in his first year with the Milwaukee Bucks as compared to his time with the Portland Trail Blazers. This isn’t a complete shock considering how he’s now playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, which has led to a significant decrease in Lillard’s usage rate.
What’s more important, however, is how Dame is able to make the Bucks a better team overall with what he brings to the table. If you ask Stephen A. Smith, though, the ESPN broadcaster believes that Lillard simply hasn’t been able to live up to the lofty expectations since making the big move to Milwaukee.
Stephen A. Smith Gets Real on Damian Lillard’s Milwaukee Bucks Move
Smith isn’t downplaying Lillard’s greatness and what the seven-time All-Star has done for the Bucks — at least on offense. Stephen A was quick to point out, however, that Dame has certainly left a lot to be desired on the defensive end. This becomes even more evident once you consider the fact that Milwaukee opted to let Jrue Holiday go in favor of Lillard.
“We know Damian Lillard is a superstar, we understand that and we know he’s been exceptional for the most part,” Smith said (h/t Christopher Kuhagen of the Milwauee Journal Sentinel). “But his defense has been questionable to be kind. When you’re the replacement to Jrue Holiday the reality of the situation is one of two things (have) got to happen. You have to elevate your level of defensive prowess or you have to be so explosive, so other worldly offensively that it offsets what you’re lacking defensively.”
As Smith said, Lillard has shown flashes of brilliance offensively throughout his time in Milwaukee. There’s no denying that the 33-year-old has been integral to the Bucks amassing a 25-11 record at this point in the season.
At the same time, though, “otherworldy” isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when describing Dame’s performance on the offensive end. At least not on a consistent enough basis to make everyone forget about Jrue Holiday and what the Bucks are missing on defense now that the five-time All-Defense combo guard moved on to greener pastures.
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