Bucks back to basketball profile: Giannis Antetokounmpo
With the announcement of the NBA’s 22-team plan to close out the rest of the season, the Milwaukee Bucks are waiting for late July when play restarts in Disney World. It will undoubtedly be an odd postseason experience, but if Milwaukee can be at its best in the bubble then it will be tough to beat.
As coach Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks prepare during this hiatus, FOX Sports Wisconsin will analyze each player on the Bucks and what their role might be in the playoffs.
This edition: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Previously: Brook Lopez | Khris Middleton | Donte DiVincenzo | Kyle Korver | Wes Matthews | Robin Lopez | George Hill | Pat Connaughton | Ersan Ilyasova | Marvin Williams | Sterling Brown | Eric Bledsoe
As we all know by now, Antetokounmpo was a relatively unknown prospect from Greece when he was selected by Milwaukee with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. He had a bumpy rookie season in 2013-14, but has since developed into one of the best, if not the best, players in the NBA.
The Greek Freak has played seven seasons in the NBA and already made four All-Star games, three All-NBA teams and two All-Defensive teams and won the MVP last season. Antetokounmpo has a good shot of winning MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019-20 and appears to be getting better each season. So, yeah, the Bucks’ gamble in the 2013 draft has paid off … and then some.
Antetokounmpo has once again been absolutely spectacular for the Bucks. He has racked up MVP-level statistics despite playing less than 31 minutes per game and was the driving force behind a team that at one point was on pace to finish the regular season with 70 wins.
He’s averaged more points and rebounds than his previous season and clearly made an effort to become a better 3-point shooter. The 6-foot-11 phenom had not incorporated 3-point shooting into his game much early in his career, but he’s attempted a career-high 4.8 shots from long range this season, up from 2.8 the year before.
GIANNIS IS UPON US. pic.twitter.com/GKjKrrloPa
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) November 17, 2019
GAME TO REMEMBER
Even though there are a lot of games where he scored more points or grabbed more rebounds, Antetokounmpo’s best game, perhaps, occurred in a 112-101 home win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 6. Antetokounmpo finished with 36 points, 20 rebounds, six assists and recorded a box score +/- of plus-18 in a matchup of Eastern Conference heavyweights.
WHAT TO EXPECT THIS SUMMER
Antetokounmpo has gotten so good that it would be incredibly surprising if he does not dominate in the playoffs. Milwaukee will not have a home-court advantage throughout the postseason but at this point it doesn’t matter where Antetokounmpo is playing — he is going to produce at the highest level.
One thing Bucks fans can hope for is that his 3-point shot improves in Orlando. Antetokounmpo shot just over 30% from deep in the regular season. If he can get even a little better in that area, defenses will take his shot more seriously, which will open up more opportunities for his teammates.
Either way, be prepared for Antetokounmpo to put the Bucks’ long playoff hopes on his shoulders.