Much like we did last May/June after Adrian Griffin was hired, we’re bringing in the experts to tell us about the newest member of the organization: a certain seven-time All-NBA point guard and rapper most recently engaged with the Portland Trail Blazers. Perhaps you’ve heard of him—I think he goes by Dame D.O.L.L.A. in the studio, and by Dame Time or Logo Lillard on the floor. Whatever you call him, Damian Lillard is now a Milwaukee Buck and everyone is excited about it, besides fans of certain Eastern Conference franchises.
Nevertheless, questions abound with Lillard’s addition to this team, perhaps most pressingly regarding his defense and availability concerns. For the most part, we can only speculate what things will look like once he dons hunter green and cream, but the intrepid analysts at the outstanding Blazer’s Edge will be able to give much better answers than we can! So we’ll pick their brains about the Buck-to-be and would like your help.
To speak to the injury issue, Dame was something of an iron man prior to the 2021–22 season, when he missed 53 contests and didn’t play after New Year’s Eve. That year he dealt with an abdominal issue that required surgery and a 6–8 week recovery, which was later deemed season-ending—perhaps because the Blazers were well below .500—despite a good recovery. Prior to that, he had never missed more than 9 games a year (recall that ‘19–20 and ‘20–21 were 74- and 72-game seasons, respectively) and appeared in all 82 during his first three seasons.
Last year he rebounded with a career-best 32.2 PPG in 58 games and a third-team All-NBA selection, though he was shut down with ten games left on the schedule because of (what was recently revealed as) a faux-injury as Portland tanked. He dealt with a right calf strain early in the season that sidelined him for twelve of the Blazers’ first 23 games, but then only missed two games from then until late March. During that time he played through the lingering calf pain, a sprained left wrist, and a sprained left ankle, but only missed games for rest purposes.
At least none of last year’s maladies were related to the ab problems from the previous campaign, but I think it will be useful for everyone to have it all laid out here to inform your question-asking. Anyway, our sister site in the Pacific Northwest will soon be ready to answer whatever you’re wondering about in regard to Lillard’s integration with the Bucks. We at BH might ask one or two, but otherwise, the floor is open to you readers. Post your questions in the comments between now and Monday, at which point I will relay them to Blazers Edge. Thanks in advance!