Milwaukee Bucks: Damian Lillard’s Bold ‘Guarantee’ for Next Season Will Have Fans Fired Up

Milwaukee Bucks news: Despite being named an All-Star for the eighth time in his career, it’s hard to deny that Damian Lillard fell short of the expectations we all had in him when he first joined the team. The 33-year-old will probably be the first to admit that, too.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks

Jan 14, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) reacts after scoring the game-winning basket in overtime against the Sacramento Kings at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The worst part is over, though, and at this point, there’s nowhere to go but up for Milwaukee’s superstar point guard.

Milwaukee Bucks News: Damian Lillard’s Honest Confession

USATSI 23122524 168400517 lowres 1Apr 26, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots the ball during game three of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Bucks head coach Doc Rivers spoke to the press on Friday for his 2023-24 exit interview. At one point, the tenured shot-caller opened up about the improvements he wants to see from Lillard next season. Rivers admitted that Dame’s health stood in the way of the veteran achieving his goals in his debut season in Milwaukee — a notion that Lillard himself completely agrees with:

“I won’t go into what we told him he needs to get better in, but we had a good list,” Rivers said, via Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “Dame really, in his thoughts, said, ‘Coach, I was never in the shape that I needed to be in. I had to wait all summer,’ because you’re scared to play when you know you’re about to get traded. You don’t want to get injured.”

Milwaukee Bucks, Doc RiversMar 5, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers arrives prior to the game against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

‘Beat Me to the Punch’

Milwaukee Bucks, Damian Lillard, Indiana Pacers, NBA PlayoffsApr 7, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) warms up during shoot around before their game against the New York Knicks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Rivers had every intention of telling his star straight up about his health issues. Apparently, Lillard never gave his coach a chance to do so because this was exactly what was running through Dame’s mind as well. Coach Doc then revealed that the seven-time All-NBA guard came out with a bold promise ahead of the upcoming campaign:

“And he says, ‘So it’s my worst offseason I’ve ever had.’ He said, ‘I’ll guarantee you next year, you’re going to see me in the best shape you’ve ever seen. That’s No. 1,’” Rivers recalled. “It’s the first thing he walked in and said before I said it because he knew I was going to say it. And so he beat me to the punch.”

Lillard is the type of person who gets things done when he sets his mind to it. This is exactly why Rivers is confident that Dame will be able to live up to his word this coming season.

Lillard is going to be a different monster for the Bucks next year.

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