Without a doubt, the addition of Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks is a game-changer for the franchise. It has also certainly created a huge shift in the NBA’s competitive landscape. Even before Lillard’s trade to Milwaukee, the Bucks were already viewed among the top NBA title contenders, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge. But getting the Greek Freak a bona fide superstar to run alongside him dramatically changes the complexion of the Bucks’ chances to have another championship parade in downtown Milwaukee.
It doesn’t take a basketball genius to see why the Lillard-Antetkoumpo tandem is terrifying for the rest of the league. That partnership carries arguably the most lethal pick-your-poison potential for opposing defenses in the NBA. They have even given everyone a preview of sorts during Monday’s 108-97 preseason game road win by the Bucks over fellowtitle contenders Los Angeles Lakers.
“Having another guy out there that’s just dominant,” Lillard said after Antetokounmpo scored 16 points in 15 minutes on 7-for-10 shooting. “He can dominate a game and win you a game. … First couple plays, they blitz me, they trap me and the guy that I’m releasing the ball to is Giannis. So I’m just like, ‘Uh, we can do this all night.’ You know what I mean?”
Lillard scored just 14 points in that game on a salty 3-for-10 shooting from the field, but he was 6-for-6 from the foul line and finished with a plus/minus of +7 (better than Giannis’ +2). Lillard and Antetokounmpo are still in the process of developing the kind of chemistry Milwaukee needs to reach the optimal level of its offense with both superstars on the floor, but even in its rudimentary form, it’s difficult to deny how scary they could be on a nightly basis, just like Lillard mentioned.
Damian Lillard’s arrival in Milwaukee gives Bucks odds to win 2023-24 NBA title a major boost
At the moment, the Bucks own the shortest odds to win the NBA title in 2024. They are carrying odds of +350 to go all the way. Their chief rivals, based on the odds, are the Boston Celtics, who have also made loud noises in the offseason. The Celtics are at +400 to add to their collection of NBA championships. Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets are +450 to repeat.