Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Astonishment: Defenders Target Damian Lillard

For all the positive contributions that former Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made during his time with the franchise, he wasn’t double-teamed the moment he crossed halfcourt in a meaningless preseason game.

That’s what new Bucks guard Damian Lillard saw against the Los Angeles Lakers, and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was taken aback by the gravitational pull Lillard had on the opposition defense.

Giannis is ready to enter his 11th NBA season and has seen his fair share of defensive coverages.

The reigning MVP has seen it all, from double- and triple-teams to unusual box-and-one systems. But what he saw from the Lakers was much different.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Astonishment: Defenders Target Damian Lillard

“In my 11 seasons with the Bucks, I’ve never seen someone double-teamed from the first play of the game.”

It was unexpected. It’s a practice game. This isn’t a playoff game. This is not a regular-season match.

It’s not in a regular-season tournament or a Play-In game. He was double-teamed in a preseason game. “Man, it’s insane,” Giannis said.

Giannis was alluding to a play in which Lillard passed out of the double team and sent the ball to Giannis, who drove into the lane and blasted it out to a wide-open Jae Crowder.

Although the veteran forward missed the triple, it demonstrates what Giannis can do with a 4-on-3 downhill.

“When I’m wide open, I try to attack downhill and do what I do,” Antetokounmpo explained. “People are crowding the paint, and I just kick it to Jae, Brook, and Malik.” Guys are friendly. “At the end of the day, I just have to do my job,” Giannis said.

With defenses scared of Lillard’s outside shooting ability (the dude has made over 2,300 threes in his career), Giannis will have more room to operate. In the NBA, nothing scares defenders more than a seven-foot All-Star with a head of steam.

“I think it’ll allow me to make a few more plays… with a little bit more space around me and not people trying to get in my feet and put their hands (on me) or double-team and crowd the space.”

It will allow me to make more plays for myself going downhill or for my teammates, which will be wide-open threes the majority of the time.”

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