Face the facts: The reloaded Milwaukee Bucks are winning it all

November 3, 2023 — by Bill Huang
Courtesy of NBA
Damian Lillard arrives in Milwaukee at the Bucks welcome rally holding his two sons surrounded by fans.
Damian Lillard will be the key to them hoisting the champion trophy next June.

Staring at an official report from ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on Instagram in late September, I saw a huge image of 7-time all-star Damian Lillard photoshopped into a Milwaukee Buck jersey. 

It was a seismic shakeup of the NBA landscape. Arguably one of the best shooters behind Stephen Curry, Lillard had joined the franchise that had won an NBA championship just two years ago. Although I have always been a Warriors fan, I knew this meant the Milwaukee Bucks would be the obvious pick to hold the championship trophy next June. 

For the past 11 seasons, Lillard has committed every fiber of his being to the Portland Trail Blazers, carrying the entire team on his back. Despite scoring around 30 or 40 points every night and even dropping a franchise record and personal career high of 71 points last season, the Blazers underperformed year after year, never having enough talent to challenge the best teams. 

Entering the off-season, rumors of the flashy point guard leaving the Blazers started spiraling. Many fans speculated possible teams that Lillard might join the Miami Heat or the Toronto Raptors. If he had gone to to Miami , it would have created a new power duo with superstar small forward Jimmy Butler.

When the report came through that Lillard had been traded to the Bucks, I knew there was an obvious favorite in the championship contention. The trade to the Bucks was a three-team trade: The Bucks received Lillard; the Blazers received Suns’ center ​​Deandre Ayton, Suns’ small forward Toumani Camara and Bucks starting point guard Jrue Holiday (who ended up being dealt to the Celtics), also including a 2029 first-round pick and two first-round pick swaps with the Bucks (2028, 2030) which means the Suns will be guaranteed to get a first round pick and have the ability to trade first round picks; finally, the Phoenix Suns received shooting guard Grayson Allen, small forward Keon Johnson, power forward Nassir Little and center Jusuf Nurkic.

The Bucks have been the one of, if not, the best team in the Eastern Conference for the past few seasons. With the all league MVP, finals MVP, finals Champion, 7-time all-star, power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the team, having Lillard join his side will make an unstoppable force. Antetokounmpo averaged 31.1 points per game last season, and Lillard averaged 32.2 points, and even had three 50-point games. Giannis had been unstoppable in the paint and in the driving lines and Lillard had been untouchable beyond the 3-point line, so combining these two together would destroy any competition that arises this upcoming season. 

Although the future in the league is always uncertain and injuries can undo a team’s chances at any point, the Bucks look to be heavy favorites, with one of the greatest guard-big man duos in NBA history. In a few more months, I hope to see the finals be played by the Bucks facing off against our Golden State Warriors.

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