Damian Lillard Singles Out Celtics Amid ‘Tough’ Start With Bucks

Damian Lillard

Getty Damian Lillard

Adjusting to the Milwaukee Bucks has been harder for Damian Lillard than he thought it was. When he first arrived, he thought the Bucks would be on the same level as the Boston Celtics, but he explained to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix why that’s not the case.

“I thought we was going to be how Boston is right now,” Lillard told Mannix in a February 27 story. “But I think what I’ve learned is that some things take time, especially stuff that has reward in the end. You can’t come into it and think that it’s just going to be all peaches and cream. We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had a coaching change. I haven’t completely settled in to finding who am I on this team. And that’s kind of a tough thing.”

Lillard explained how he feels LeBron James went through something similar when he switched teams.

“I think any star who’s been traded deals with it. Now that I look back on it, I would imagine LeBron [James] probably felt how I feel when he went to Miami. Not with who he is. I’m sure he knew who he was, but who am I within this team, and how does it look? What does my best look like on this team? And that’s draining to be constantly trying to figure it out.”

LeBron figured things out and went on to win two NBA titles in Miami, along with two more NBA Finals appearances. Lillard has the next few months to prove he can make the same adjustment in Milwaukee.

Damian Lillard Harps on ‘Tough’ Adjustment With Bucks

In that same interview with Mannix, Damian Lillard opened up on how hard it has been to adjust to the Bucks.

“It’s been a real transition. Being in the same situation for 11 years, deciding to move on from that, wanting a chance to win. And then coming here playing for a first-time coach [Adrian Griffin] and him being new to the team. So it isn’t like I came to Milwaukee and everything was already established. It was a completely new staff.”

Lillard also explained how it hasn’t been so easy playing next to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Obviously, trying to figure out me pairing with Giannis and being a part of this team. It’s a process and I think that’s been an adjustment for both of us. He’s used to playing a certain way. I’m used to playing a certain way, and I think we’ve had moments. I just think it’s still a work in progress.”

How Damian Lillard Ended His Conflict With Patrick Beverley

Before they teamed up in Milwaukee, Damian Lillard and Patrick Beverley had a public squabble. However, both recognized the opportunity they have on the Bucks.

On his podcast via its X account, Beverley revealed how the two sides agreed to squash their beef with one another.

“We go to Bobby Portis’ birthday party. Lillard goes, ‘What’s up Pat?’… I’m like, ‘What’s up Dame? You aight?’ He said, ‘We need to sit down and talk.’ I’m like, ‘F*ck talking. Let’s go out to dinner.’”