Damian Lillard admits he thought the Bucks would be Eastern Conference front-runners

Upon joining the Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard admittedly thought the team would be the favorites in the Eastern Conference.

Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks
Charlotte Hornets v Milwaukee Bucks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Things do not always appear as they seem, which is the realization Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard is facing in his first season with the franchise.

Many, including Lillard, thought that pairing him with two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo would not just give the Bucks arguably the league’s most dynamic duo – but make them the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference.

Unfortunately for Lillard, Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks, that title currently belongs to the Boston Celtics, who sit atop the East with an NBA-best 46-12 record.

The Bucks aren’t a bad team by any stretch – they’re 38-21 and in third place in the conference standings. But still, Lillard can’t help but look at where the Celtics sit and ponder why Milwaukee isn’t in the top spot.

Damian Lillard expected it to be easier in first season with Bucks

“I thought we was going to be how Boston is right now,” Lillard told Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix in a recent interview.

However, now that he’s had time to get acclimated to playing for a new team for the first time in his career and reflect on the on-court product, Lillard has a newfound perspective: “But I think what I’ve learned is that some things take time, especially stuff that has a reward in the end,” Lillard said.

When the Bucks brought in Lillard, it was expected to be a seamless transition for him and Antetokounmpo as two proven star players whose style of play was supposed to mesh nicely, which hasn’t been the case.

The former’s ability to stretch the floor with his elite three-point shooting combined with the aggressive, downhill approach of the latter felt like a perfect match.

In hindsight, Lillard understands that he, Antetokounmpo, and the Bucks have had their work cut out for them and still have a ways to go if they want to reach their ceiling and ultimate goal of winning the NBA Championship.

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