When Giannis and the Bucks won the NBA title, the first question the rest of the basketball world had was if this would potentially be the end or at the very least slow down the idea that you need to form a super team in order to win a title. As we know, the NBA is a copycat league and while there aren't a ton of Giannis' roaming around I do think there's something to be said about how the Bucks built their way to the top of the mountain. Well it appears we have our first answer to this question, and it comes from Dame himself
“I was sitting there, and I was like, it can really be done,” Lillard told Jason Quick of The Athletic when referencing some teams who have gone on improbable runs to the NBA Finals in recent years. “That’s how I feel: It can be done.”
Lillard added that the Milwaukee Bucks’ run to the 2021 NBA title pushed his belief even further.
“I was even more convinced,” he said of the Bucks’ championship.
Lillard has been unsuccessfully trying to get the Blazers to the NBA Finals since he joined the organization in 2012. But it’s clear that he’s not ready to give up yet.
“Sometimes, it happens when it was least expected,” Lillard said. “You just never know.”
If the Bucks never win that title, and maybe it's the Nets that won, does it change how Dame feels? Of course with Lillard we already know he's insanely loyal, but we also know he's pretty fed up with how things are going in Portland. He wants to contend. He's also one of the best players in the entire league that I imagine the next wave of star players look up to. That's always where I thought we would see this Bucks title impact the most. The next wave of guys like Luka, Tatum, Morant, Booker, Bam, etc. To see that it already had an impact on one of the best players in the league is pretty cool. I know Blazers fans must be relieved as hell seeing those quotes from their franchise guy.
From what I can remember, this is the first big time player we've heard talk about how the Bucks title impacted how they viewed their future and their decision to stay in their small market. In my opinion this is great for the league and fans everywhere. Call me crazy, but I think things are better when there's competitive balance and more teams are able to keep their best players. Now I'll also be transparent here. If any blue chip player comes out and says they want to join the Celts and leave their small market team, that's fine by me. That's the real truth behind people being against super teams. Everyone doesn't like them unless it involves your favorite team becoming one.
If the Bucks run taught us anything it's that things are as wide open as ever in the NBA. You never know who might be hurt or what opportunities might arise once you make the playoffs. If you take care of business, you can win a title. If you're not a super team you obviously need a top 10 guy as your #1 option and legit depth around him, but the Blazers have that guy in Dame. There's no reason to think if they play to their potential and perhaps get some breaks that they too can win in a small market.
Now let's just hope more guys feel like Dame.
Again, to be clear here, unless that guy wants to join the Celts. In that case I say welcome.