Giannis Antetokounmpo Says Bucks Are Damian Lillard’s Team

During an interview with NBA reporter Eric Nehm of The Athletic, Giannis Antetokounmpo said the Milwaukee Bucks are Damian Lillard‘s team. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Bucks, NBA
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Antetokounmpo is ready to hand Lillard the keys in the moments that matter most late in games. 

“I am his biggest fan,” Antetokounmpo said. “Good or bad, I ride with Dame until the f—ing end. I ride with Dame. Like I’ve been saying this over and over again. This. Is. His. Team. Down the stretch, he’s going to get the ball. There’s nothing else that we will do. I don’t know how else to put it. I don’t know what else to say. But at the end of the day, he has to believe it too.”

Lillard is a better shooter than Antetokounmpo, so it makes sense for Dame to close games for the Bucks, who are in third place in the East with a record of 35-21. 

In his first season with the Bucks, Lillard is averaging 24.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists while shooting 42.3% from the field, 34.1% from beyond the arc and 92.5% from the free-throw line. 

“Sometimes, you need to set screens for Dame,” Antetokounmpo said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to give him space. When I come down and you see that I’m on the right side, he’s on the left side, I always throw the ball sideways to him because once they’re loading and I throw it there, he just operates. That’s been helping the team.”

The Bucks are second in the NBA in points per game (122.0). Lillard and Antetokounmpo are averaging a combined 55.4 points on the season. 

A two-time MVP and one-time Finals MVP, Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks in 2023-24. 

“One of the things that I see, when I rebound, early in transition, throwing the ball ahead to Dame, it allows him to operate at a high level,” Antetokounmpo said. “From 3s, from driving the ball, getting and-ones, getting in the paint. Like when they’re loading (up) and you throw the ball ahead and you let him operate, it’s very good for him. It’s really, really good. Also, I try to set as many screens as I can for him to be able to operate.”

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