30 points becoming the norm for Bucks’ Antetokounmpo
Welcome to the 2017-18 edition of the Young Bucks Tracker. This year, we’re taking a different tact. With Milwaukee now having a G League franchise, the Wisconsin Herd, each Thursday we’ll either track the progress of the players who might be of help to the Bucks in the future or a current member of the Milwaukee roster. We’ll also give updates on the other young players from the previous week.
This is the 3rd edition of the 2017-18 Young Bucks Tracker.
SPOTLIGHT ON …
Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo
It’s getting to the point now where great games have become the expected for Antetokounmpo. This past week, the Bucks’ 23-year-old superstar was at it again.
He started the week with a pair of double-doubles — 27 points and 11 rebounds vs. Dallas and 37 and 13 against Utah. On Wednesday, he just missed another, pouring in 32 points to go with nine rebounds (and four assists and five steals).
Antetokounmpo has five games of 30+ points over his last eight games (or, since Nov. 28). Overall this season he has 12 games with 30+ points. He had 18 all of last season. No one has had 20 such games since Michael Redd in 2005-06, and only two players in Bucks history have had more than 20 games with 30+ points — Marques Johnson (24 in 1978-79) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six times — 24, 29, 32, 33, 34, 46 and 62).
“The Greek Freak” is currently averaging 29.9 points per game, which would be the highest for a Milwaukee player since Abdul-Jabbar averaged 30.0 points in 1974-75.
Only three players in franchise history have averaged 25 or more points in a season: Abdul-Jabbar, who did it six times, (he’s also the only Bucks player to ever average 28 or more points in a season, and he did that five times), Redd (twice) and Johnson. Antetokounmpo should become the fourth.
It’s a special season. And did we mention he’s only 23? Enjoy the ride.
— Gary Payton II, who is on a two-way contract, got into all three games this past week, his first games with the Bucks since Nov. 30. He played in a season-high 23:05 against Utah and followed that up with 17 minutes at New Orleans. Despite playing only 45 minutes combined, Payton had a box score plus/minus of 30 for the week (which included a plus-20 vs. the Jazz), which was the highest on the team.
— Forward Joel Bolomboy, who is also on a two-way contract, played over seven minutes against the Pelicans on Wednesday, his first NBA action since Nov. 30. His 7:15 played was more than his three previous appearances combined.
— Former Kansas forward Cliff Alexander posted his second double-double of the season with the Wisconsin Herd, tallying 13 points and 12 rebounds at Erie on Wednesday. He also scored 24 and 22 in two earlier games in the week.
— Herd guard Xavier Munford continues to fill the stat sheet. On Dec. 8 vs. Oklahoma City he had 25 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals. The next night against Long Island it was 19 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds. Then on Dec. 13 at Erie, Munford posted 28 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals.