Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken the NBA by storm. The young, charismatic, and electrifying NBA all-star brings a unique game to the table. His ridiculous wingspan and physical ability has helped him become a very popular star among young NBA fans, despite the fact that he plays for a small market team like the Milwaukee Bucks. Although Antetokounmpo earned a starting spot in the all-star game last season, fans and critics have been skeptical of whether or not the “Greek Freak” is ready to make the leap into an MVP caliber player at the young age of 22 years old. I, on the other hand, believe that Giannis Antetokounmpo is a serious MVP candidate this season.
Why Not Giannis?
The hashtag #WhyNot is commonly used by Russell Westbrook, an MVP of himself. However, when I think of the question, “why not?”, I think of Derrick Rose, another former MVP. In fact, Derrick Rose was the youngest MVP in NBA history. Every time someone asks,”can Giannis be MVP?”, send them this youtube clip.
“Derrick Rose, can you make the jump to be a top 10 player?”
“Why not? Why can’t I be the MVP of the League? Why can’t I be the best player in the League?”
Unlike Rose, Antetokounmpo is entering his 5th season in the NBA. However, much like Rose leading up to the point of earning the MVP award, Antetokounmpo has been improving every season since he joined the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013.
His rookie season, he averaged 6.8 PTS, 4.4 REB, 1.9 AST with a .414 FG%
last season, he averaged 22.9 PTS, 8.8 REB, 5.4 AST with a .521 FG%.
Giannis has improved in almost every category, every season he has been in the league. His development is a testament to his relentless worth ethic, as well as coach Kidd’s innovative coaching philosophies and faith in Antetokounmpo. In addition to that, Giannis is willing to learn.
“He wants to learn. He wants to be a point guard,” Kidd said. “He wants to have the ball and help make decisions, be involved in the play.”
“He puts himself in our shoes because he was in our shoes,” Antetokounmpo said. “It helps a lot because taking tips from J-Kidd — he was a player that was one of the best that’s ever done.”Antetokounmpo would continue, “It’s really easy to accept (Kidd’s mentoring) because he’s been in my shoes. He knows how I feel right now,” he said.
I’m not the only one who recognizes Antetokounmpo’s greatness:
He’s already a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches, including Toronto’s Dwane Casey. “As far as keeping him off the free throw line we have to make sure we give him space. Challenge late. We have to mix that up and start trapping him also because he is getting where he wants to go,” Casey said. “We have to give him different looks.”
The missing piece:
Antetokounmpo has one glaring hole in his game. While Antetokounmpo has improved his free throw percentage and field goal percentage, his three point shooting has gone from bad to worse. The only way to guard Antetokounmpo is to force force the Bucks to play half court offense and make Antetokounmpo shoot. This is an obstacle guys like Rondo may have found ways around in the younger years, but Rondo was never an MVP. Guys like LeBron James and the great ones figured out how to improve in the areas where they had glaring weaknesses. if Antetokounmpo is destined to be a League MVP, this is the year where we should see some improvements in his three ball game. You can’t just be a highlight reel or a one dimensional player in 2017 if you have MVP ambitions. Antetokounmpo made my top 10 list, but is he ready to be the league MVP?
Why not Antetokounmpo? Why can’t Antetokounmpo be the MVP?
Antetokounmpo brings a lot to the game of basketball. Considering his skill set, he is currently playing for the perfect coach. Although Antetokounmpo is listed as a forward, Kidd often gives Antetokounmpo the opportunity to play the guard position. In fact, it is not unusual to see the near seven footer run point night on any given night. Antetokounmpo’s willingness to learn the game of basketball, attitude, history of being healthy, physical abilities and skill set make him a serious MVP candidate for this upcoming season. As the Bucks continue to improve, Antetokounmpo is on the brink of greatness. Will his jump shot hold him back?