Muggsy Bogues explains how he would stop Damian Lillard

Muggsy Bogues explains how he would stop Damian Lillard

When you see a 5’3” and 136 lbs guy, your last thought would be he is an NBA player. But Muggsy Bogues was more than an NBA player; he was a hell of a player. Muggsy made his way into the history books as the shortest player in NBA history, playing for 14 years, most notably as the point guard of the Charlotte Hornets. He never let his height get in the way, as Muggsy’s gritty style of play, heart, and basketball IQ made him a valuable and impactful player on the court.

Bogues would use his small stature to get into his matchups and make them uncomfortable, having them work hard for every basket. That is why coaches often tasked him guarding the best opposing perimeter players, even stepping up to Michael Jordan in his time and providing a valiant effort. 

Muggsy made an appearance on the Rex Chapman Show and discussed various topics with his former teammate. As they were talking about some of the best point guards of today, Muggsy had only love for Damian Lillard, comparing him to Steph Curry.

“D-Lillard is something special. He is another Steph Curry. Steph just moves differently than Dame, in terms of once they get the basketball up. But Dame is a killer.”

Muggsy Bogues, The Rex Chapman Show

Muggsy couldn’t comprehend the Nuggets defense in Game 5 of their first-round series versus the Blazers, in which they managed to scrape away a crucial double-overtime win. Damian Lillard was doing everything he wanted in that game, hitting 12 threes and scoring 55 points. Muggsy, known for guarding those type of players, offered some insight into how he would approach guarding Dame and what the Nuggets did wrong:

“I don’t understand why they wasn’t double-teaming him. And not only that. Tendencies don’t change. I’m as a guard. I’ll be watching, and I’m like, why they not playing him a certain way, guarding individually.

It’s not so much getting up underneath him, but his stepback is always step to the right, left to right, so why not let him step to the left. I mean, every time he comes back, it’s a step to the right. It’s just the same move. It’s the matter of looking at them details and the tendencies that guys don’t change.”

Muggsy Bogues, The Rex Chapman Show

Rex kept praising Muggsy, saying how he is the only guy in the world that could stop Dame that night due to his size, allowing him to get underneath Dame and wear him out. Still, Muggsy stayed humble and focused instead on game planing the defense of the whole team into forcing Dame outside his comfort zone by focusing on the tendencies.

As for individually, Muggsy’s size and grit would have made Dame definitely uncomfortable, making him work for every shot and probably limiting him to lesser points. It’s always great to see former players show respect toward today’s stars, but providing some interesting insight into how they would try to play them and possibly stop them.

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