Bucks Will Not Contend With Current Version of Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard, Bucks, NBA
Feb 18, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Eastern Conference guard Damian Lillard (0) of the Milwaukee Bucks speaks to the media following his Most Valuable Player performance against the Western Conference All-Stars in the 73rd NBA All Star game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

One of the standout performers from NBA All-Star Weekend was Milwaukee Bucks point guard, Damian Lillard. Lillard took home the 3-Point Shooting Contest crown for the second straight year, becoming only the eighth player in NBA history to win the contest more than once.

It was an impressive showing for Lillard, who defeated Trae Young and Karl-Anthony Towns in the finals. His long-range shooting display didn’t stop there as Lillard continued awing fans with his shooting ability during the All-Star Game on Sunday night.

Lillard scored an Eastern Conference-high 39 points, knocking down 11-of-23 3-point attempts in the highest-scoring All-Star game in NBA history. He took home the MVP award for his performance, helping lead the East to a 211-186 victory over the West.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Damian Lillard & Milwaukee Bucks Updates

There were a lot of people skeptical about Lillard being selected as an All-Star starter, especially over New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson. When comparing their production and statistics this season, Brunson is outperforming Lillard basically across the board. But, Lillard showed he still has plenty left in the tank during All-Star Weekend.

Now, Bucks fans are hoping that he can bring this kind of hot shooting along with him for the duration of the 2023-24 regular season and what they hope is a deep playoff run. Because the current regular season version of Lillard is not one the Bucks are going to be able to contend with.

Heading into the NBA All-Star break, Lillard had an extended stretch of underwhelming play. Over his last 21 games, he is averaging an inefficient 22.9 points per game. Lillard made only 40.1 percent of his field goal attempts over that span and an ugly 29.1 percent of his 3-pointers despite averaging 8.2 attempts per game.

His assists and rebounds are closer to being in line with his career production, but slightly underwhelming at 6.6 and 3.8 per game. Most importantly, the Bucks have gone only 11-10 in those 21 games, dropping them in the Eastern Conference standings.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Damian Lillard & Milwaukee Bucks Updates

On the season, Lillard is averaging 24.6 points, 6.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. He is making only 42.3 percent of his shots overall and 34.1 percent of his 3-point attempts. Outside of his injury-plagued 2021-22 campaign, this is the second-worst shooting season of his career.

His inefficiency on that side of the court is very surprising, especially since he isn’t carrying the load by himself anymore as he was at times with the Portland Trail Blazers. Opponents have to give a lot of attention to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton is a strong third option as well.

Despite that, Lillard has yet to find his rhythm in Milwaukee. Playing for an NBA franchise that isn’t the Trail Blazers is certainly an adjustment, as he is dealing with off-court things as well. Hopefully, he can carry over the momentum from the All-Star Weekend into the rest of this campaign, otherwise the Bucks can kiss their chances of contending goodbye.

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