Giannis thriving in defensive stats, too
It's still early in the season, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting up numbers rarely seen before in Milwaukee, or the NBA for that matter.
Through Milwaukee's first 20 games — or about a quarter through the season — Antetokounmpo is averaging 2.2 steals and 2.3 blocks.
Since 1973-74, when blocks and steals were first tracked by the NBA, only four players have averaged 2+ blocks and 2+ steals in a season (with a minimum of having played in half of the team's games. The last to do was Charlotte's Gerald Wallace in 2005-06 (2.5 steals, 2.1 blocks). The previous player before Wallace was San Antonio's David Robinson back in 1991-92 (2.3 steals, 4.5 blocks), which was his third year in the league (he never averaged more than 1.7 steals in any other season). Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon did it five times, in 1985-86 and then every season from 1987-88 through 1990-91. The first to do it was Denver's Bobby Jones in 1976-77 (2.3 steals, 2.0 blocks), the first year the Nuggets were in the NBA.
To be fair, Jones also did in in the ABA with Denver in 1975-76 as did Julius Erving with New York in 1973-74 (2.3 steals, 2.2 blocks).
Antetokounmpo is also averaging 6.1 assists per game (entering this weekend's games). If he can maintain even close to his current pace of stats, he'd be the first player to average 5+ assists, 2+ steals and 2+ blocks a game in NBA history (OK, well, since that 1973-74 starting point).
But wait, we're not done.
Antetokounmpo has 89 defensive stops thus far — 49 blocks, 43 steals — and is the only NBA player with 40+ blocks and 40+ steals this season. Only four players have had 160 blocks and steals in a season — Jones and Olajuwon three times.
In addition, Giannis is averaging 22.0 points this season, an increase of 5.1 points per game from last year. That is the third-highest differential in the NBA this season behind New York's Kristaps Porzingas (+5.6) and Cleveland's Kevin Love (+5.4). He is technically tied with teammate Jabari Parker for third, although he is slightly ahead (5.125 to 5.121) by a slight margin.
Entering Friday's games, Antetokounmpo is in the top 20 of a number of NBA stats. Here's a sampling:
— Defensive box plus/minus: 1st (5.4)
— Box plus/minus: tied for 3rd (10.0)
— Value over replacement player: tied for 4th (2.1)
— Steals per game: 4th (2.1)
— Blocks per game: tied for 4th (2.2)
— Blocks: 5th (45)
— Defensive win shares: tied for 5th (1.5)
— Steals: 6th (43)
— Player efficiency rating: 7th (27.1)
— 2-point field goals: 11th (149)
— Win shares: 12th (3.4)
— 2-point field-goal percentage: 13th (56.9 percent)
— Free throws: 16th (105)
— Defensive rebounds: tied for 16th (146)
— Assists per game: tied for 16th (6.1)
— Assists: 17th (122)
— Assist percentage: 17th (31.1 percent)
— Rebounds per game: 17th (8.9)
— Field-goal percentage: 20th (51.9 percent)
Yeah, he's pretty good and having a pretty special season.
Statistics courtesy STATS and basketball-reference.com