Now that Damian Lillard has touched down in Milwaukee and has been getting acquainted with his Bucks teammates, we can start to predict what type of stat line he will have in 2023-2024.
Lillard is coming off a career year where he averaged 32.2 points per game, which is eight points higher than his average in 2021-2022. Despite Lillard being in his early 30s, he’s shown no signs of slowing down, which could prove to be very beneficial for the Milwaukee Bucks.
With the new pairing of Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, there is no doubt that his numbers will take a slight dip having to share the scoring responsibilities. But, with Lillard’s elite skill set, there’s no question he will still have a major stat line this year that will pay dividends for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Predicting Damian Lillard’s stat line for Bucks in 2023-2024 season
When you look at the trajectory of Lillard’s career, you can see that he’s been no stranger to scoring well over 20 points per game. During his first 11 years in Portland, he averaged 20 points per game or more in nine of them, including two years of scoring over 30 points a contest.
His ability to score on all three levels has set him apart in the league, which is evident from his high field goal and 3-point percentage. A career 37.2 percent shooter from deep and 43.9 percent shooter from the floor, he’s been able to be a high-volume shooter while being efficient. Not to mention, he’s been able to add points from the free throw line as well with his ability to get inside the paint.
In addition to coming off a career-high in points, he is also coming off a career-high in attempted free throws per game. Prior to last year, he had never averaged more than seven free throws per contest, but that number changed quite a bit in 2022-2023. He attempted 9.6 free throws a game and knocked down an impressive 91.4 percent of his free throws. This will be a welcomed sign for the Milwaukee Bucks, who ranked 28th out of 30 teams in team free throw percentage last year.
On top of the scoring, Lillard will also be able to impact the Milwaukee Bucks positively through his passing. His assist numbers have floated between five to six a game through the first half of his career, but since the 2019-2020 season that has changed drastically. That year, he had a career-high eight assists per game, and since then he’s averaged 7.3 assists or better in each of the last three years.
Playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton will allow for that number to increase while also helping the team out as a whole. Not to mention, now that Lillard is on the team, it’ll allow for Giannis and Khris to also play off-ball some and give them a break from handling the ball so much.
When it comes to the defense, Lillard can be effective. He is no Jrue Holiday, but he is aware that he can still be beneficial to the Milwaukee Bucks on that side of the floor. Despite the confidence, the numbers don’t necessarily back that up as he’s coming off two of his worst seasons in terms of defensive rating, per Stat Muse. We do have to take those numbers with a grain of salt, as he played less than 60 games in each of those two years. There’s still hope that with a defensive-oriented team with a defensive-minded coach, Lillard will be able to feed off that approach and have a strong year defending.
2023-2024 Stat prediction: 27.8 points per game, nine assists per game, 4.4 rebounds per game, 1.2 steals per game, 44.5 field goal percentage, 38.9 3-point percentage.
There’s no question that playing alongside two other powerful scorers, Lillard’s scoring will take a little step back from last year. Plus, it’s not easy for players to put up back-to-back 30 point per game seasons. I still think he’s going to be one of the top scorers in the league this year while also continuing to be a great facilitator. If his defense stays at a solid level as well, Lillard could be on the verge of another huge season with a team that can very well compete for an NBA title.
Stay tuned for more news and analysis for the Milwaukee Bucks.