Bucks’ Damian Lillard Gets Called Out By NBA Analyst

Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Milwaukee Bucks have gotten off to a slower-than-anticipated start in the 2023-24 NBA regular season. They are currently 3-2 as they are still trying to figure things out with their big addition, star point guard Damian Lillard.

The Bucks acquired Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers right before training camps got started around the NBA. Many people lauded the trade, believing the deal would raise the team’s ceiling given how dynamic of a player Lillard is offensively.

His presence would help take pressure off of former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has done a lot of the heavy lifting on his own in recent seasons. The two of them would be a deadly pick-and-roll combo and Lillard would open up the court for everyone else to operate as well.

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It will take some time for everyone to truly gel, as the adjustment has been rocky for Lillard in the early going. He is shooting only 41.4 percent from the field and averaging 23 points per game, which would be his lowest in a season since Year 3 of his NBA career. But, glimpses have been there of his dominance, as he willed the Bucks to a victory over the New York Knicks in the first game of pool play in the NBA In-Season Tournament.

While there is plenty to iron out offensively, as the team’s offensive rating has dropped compared to last season, the biggest adjustment for the Bucks is coming defensively. One of the players who the team had to trade away to acquire Lillard was Jrue Holiday.

Holiday is considered by many to be the best defensive guard in the NBA. He is capable of shutting down backcourt players and wings, which made him an integral piece to the Bucks’ game plan on that end of the court. 

The Bucks knew they would be losing something going from Holiday to Lillard on that end of the court. However, the results have been catastrophic to this point. Last season, Milwaukee was ranked fourth in defensive rating; to this point, they are 25th. Lillard is currently having the worst defensive season of his career and ranks 333th in individual defensive rating.

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As noted by BBall Forever, Holiday has helped lead his new team, the Boston Celtics to the top of the offensive rating list, while the Bucks are dropping. That has led to Brad Botkin of CBS Sports calling out Lillard for his effort, or lack thereof, on the defensive side of the ball.

“At the moment, to suggest Lillard is uncommitted to playing defense would be an understatement. In reality, the guy is playing some of the laziest, flat-out worst defense of his career… It’s been borderline disgraceful at times.”

Lillard and the Bucks will be afforded a little bit of time to figure things out as making a move of that magnitude will take some time to come together. But if Lillard continues playing at the level he currently is defensively, it will take a lot more on offense to make up for it.

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About Kenneth Teape 3858 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.