Giannis off to MVP-level start

Welcome to the 2018-19 edition of the Young Bucks Tracker. Each Thursday we’ll either track the progress of the players who might be of help to the Bucks in the future from the Wisconsin Herd 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 1st edition of the 2018-19 Young Bucks Tracker.

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SPOTLIGHT ON …

Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

Entering his sixth NBA season, the 24-year-old Antetokounmpo was a trendy pick when choosing MVP candidates for the upcoming year. Milwaukee’s offense has been clicking under new head coach Mike Budenholzer’s 3-point attack.

But here’s the funny thing — entering Thursday, Giannis had made just one of his 16 3-point attempts. No worries, he’s found other ways to contribute.

In his first six games (he had to miss Monday’s win over Toronto), Antetokounmpo is averaging 25.0 points, 14.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.7 blocks while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He also leads the NBA in usage percentage (36.7), had a 10.7 offensive rebounding percentage (previous career high 6.7 percent), a 30.7 defensive rebounding percentage (previous high: 25.3 percent), 22.0 total rebounding percentage (previous high: 16.0 percent) and 31.4 assist percentage (previous high 26.6 percent).

In three of his games this season, Antetokounmpo has had 25+points, 15+ rebounds and 5+ assists. He had four such games in his first five years. Since 1983-84, there have been 17 such games in Bucks history — Giannis owns seven of them (Terry Cummings four, Vin Baker and Alvin Robertson two and Glenn Robinson and Jack Sikma one).

Only DeMarcus Cousins (18), Russell Westbrook (16) and Kevin Love (9) have more such games since Antetokounmpo entered the league in 2013-14 and no one has had more than his five since the beginning of last season.

Antetokounmpo also has 13 25+-point, 15+-rebound games in his career – two more than any other Bucks player (Vin Baker, 11) since 1983-84.

It’s scary to think the numbers he can put up once he gets his outside shot going.

BUCKSHOTS

— First-round pick Donte DiVincenzio quickly established himself as a part of Budenholzer’s rotation. The rookie is averaging 20.1 minutes and 8.3 points per game, both of which rank seventh on the team, and 4.0 rebounds, although he’s making only 29.6 percent of his 3 attempts.

— Fifty-six percent of Khris Middleton‘s shots have from 3. He’s making 54.9 percent of those attempts.

— After not playing in Milwaukee’s first four games, Thon Maker got playing time in the last three contests. With Antetokounmpo sidelined, Maker played over 23 minutes against Toronto and recorded 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting with seven rebounds, two assists and a block.

— The Bucks picked up the fourth-year option on Maker as well as the third-year option on forward D.J. Wilson.

— The Wisconsin Herd’s season opens Nov. 2. Guards Trevon Duval and Jaylen Morris are signed to two-way contracts with the Bucks.