The blockbuster trade that sent Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks where he will join Giannis Antetokounmpo as a big-time scorer is helping that team reach a level that only one other team has ever met in the past.
According to @EliasSports:
Lillard and Giannis will become the 2nd teammates in NBA history to play together after each tallying 30 PPG in the prior season.
The other duo was Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, who each averaged 30 on the 1961-62 Lakers and ran it back in 1962-63. pic.twitter.com/aggwH7euMw
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 27, 2023
Both Lillard and Giannis exceeded the 30-point mark last season, and that means the Bucks will have a pair of teammates that reached that level in the 2022-23 season. The only time that has happened in the past was the 1961-62 season when Jerry West and Elgin Baylor both exceeded the 30-point mark. No other team has had a pair of teammates that scored 30 points per game in the same season.
The Lakers had a powerhouse team that season. They finished first in the Western Division with a 54-26. They made it to the NBA Finals and extended the Boston Celtics to 7 games in the championship round before losing the decisive game. Baylor averaged 38.3 points and West added 30.8 points per night.
They were nearly as good the following season as they put together a 53-27 record. They made it to the finals again, but lost to the Celtics in 6 games. Baylor averaged 34.0 ppg that season, while West averaged 27.1 points per game.
Giannis averaged 31.1 points for the Bucks last season, while Lillard averaged 32.2 points per night while playing with the Portland Trail Blazers the next season.
The Bucks had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, but they were upset in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Miami Heat. As a result of that disappointment, the Bucks were willing to change the makeup of the team. Damian Lillard asked the Blazers to trade him shortly after the 2022-23 season came to its conclusion.