The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

Will the Bucks win a championship

The Bucks celebrating their championship

In what was certainly the most shocking and important move an NBA team has made this off-season, on Sept. 28, the Milwaukee Bucks acquired seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers. The acquisition came as part of a three-team trade that also included the Phoenix Suns.

Unfortunately, blockbuster moves, such as this one, come at a cost; the trade forced the Bucks to part ways with Jrue Holiday. Holiday was by far the team’s best two-way guard. In his stint with the team, he earned a spot on the NBA All-Defensive first team in 2021 and 2023 and averaged 19 points and 7 assists per game. 

Holiday was also integral in the Bucks 2021 NBA Finals victory. In the final seconds of Game 6, he managed to steal the ball from Devin Booker and throw a fast-break lob to franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo to seal the Finals win over the Phoenix Suns for the Bucks. 

Now, Holiday will join Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee’s primary threat in the Eastern Conference. 

While it was undoubtedly such a tough decision to part ways with such a phenomenal guard, Milwaukee likely decided to gamble on Lillard in an effort to address the team’s failure to make it back to the NBA Finals since the team’s 2021 championship. 

The team has exited the playoffs in disappointing fashion the last two years, losing to the Celtics in the semifinals last year and being humiliated by the Heat, despite being heavily favored in the series, in the first round in April.

Lillard significantly upgrades the already fearsome Bucks offense; he is a lights-out shooter who is capable of going on superhuman scoring barrages. He is also an incredible leader that has attracted a reverence from Blazer fans due to his fearlessness, confidence, poise and unfailing loyalty to his team. 

Before this trade, Lillard had spent his entire professional career with the Blazers since they drafted him in 2012. In his time with the Blazers, Lillard made the All-NBA first team, won Rookie of the Year in 2013, averaged over 32 points per game and almost — singlehandedly — brought the team to the Western Conference Finals in 2019. 

With this acquisition, Lillard only increases the sheen of an already stacked Bucks roster. He joins Khris Middleton in the backcourt, who has an impressive 39% career 3-point shooting percentage. In the frontcourt are two-time MVP Antetokounmpo and versatile center Brook Lopez. 

Now, the team has only one thing on its mind: winning this year’s NBA Finals. The Bucks’ organization is confident that this trade has put them in a position to do just this. 

In an interview with Andscape, Antetokounmpo commented on Lillard joining the team. 

“A guy that is built from the same cloth as you, a guy that is a killer, he plays with a chip on his shoulder,” Antetokounmpo said.

“He’s been good for so many years in the league, dominating the league and having a guy that you can go to war every single day that wants it as bad as you want,” Antetokounmpo said. “It is always a good feeling. He’s hungry, and but he even makes me hungrier because when you are amongst greatness every single day, you have to bring it.” 

According to ESPN staff writer David Purdum, the acquisition of Damian Lillard immediately vaulted the Bucks into the spot as the consensus betting favorites to win the NBA title. ESPN also places them at No. 2 in the NBA preseason power rankings and predicts them to finish the regular season with 54 wins.

Despite all the hype, I believe the Bucks’ road to the championship will still be extremely difficult. In the Eastern Conference alone, the Bucks must get past the fortified Celtics, who have only improved since they bested the Bucks two years ago. And do not forget about the Miami Heat, who, despite appearing severely outmatched in relation to Milwaukee, have sent the Bucks packing in two of their last four playoff appearances. 

Should they advance to the NBA Finals, they will likely face the Denver Nuggets, who demolished the Miami Heat on the road to their 2022 championship. This roster is strong, boasts remarkable depth and has one of the most dynamic duos the league has seen in the last few years in back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, and prolific shooting guard Jamal Murray. 

The Bucks will be one of the most exciting and potentially dangerous teams in the league with Lillard, but I still do not believe they will win the 2024 NBA championship. The defensive downgrade they will incur as the result of losing Holiday will be quite challenging to navigate, especially in the playoffs, when defense is especially important. 

They will also have to go through many extremely well-rounded teams to eventually win, and I believe that this team lacks the same depth that teams such as the Celtics and Nuggets boast. It also remains to be seen how well ball-dominant Lillard and Antetokounmpo play together and establish chemistry with each other. 

It will be interesting to see how this team’s regular season unfolds, and I sincerely hope they prove me wrong, as I have always loved Lillard’s passion, confidence and willingness to take on challenges against the odds. I also adore Antetokounmpo’s superhuman athleticism, the remarkable development of his skill set since his rookie year as well as his off-court humor and charisma. 

The Bucks begin their 2024 season with a four-game home stand, where they will look to capture momentum at the start of the regular season and develop chemistry in their coexistent superstars. In the meantime, I suggest you watch as many Bucks games as you possibly can this season , as this team will be nothing short of thrilling to watch.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Bobcat Multimedia Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *