Giannis Antetokounmpo is a player who came from Greek A2 (a semi-pro league in Greece) and ever since he has stepped onto an NBA floor, he has improved over the past few years and helped the Bucks become the team of the future. He has become the Bucks best player and is in the running for the MIP this year. He has the tools to be the face of the Milwaukee Bucks for a long time. After we have seen him evolve into a superstar, the question is now if he can become the most polarizing player in the league when LeBron James starts phasing out?
Last season, his season averages were 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 35.3 minutes per game. After the all-star break last season, Jason Kidd decided to play Giannis at point guard to develop as a play-maker. He had flourished in that role and his averages after the all star break last season were 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists in 36.5 minutes per game. He had been polarizing at the PG position and no one was able to stop him last season after the all star break.
This season, he has elevated his game into new levels. He averaged 22.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in 35.6 minutes per game. This season, he became the first player lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks (all 5 major statistical categories) and he became the only player in NBA history to be top 20 in all 5 major statistical categories. He has continued his dominance in the postseason by averaging 23.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 37.7 minutes per game. He was the conductor for the Bucks as they were able to steal game 1 in Toronto and embarrassing Toronto at home in game 3 when they held the Raptors to only 77 points and their best scorer DeMar Derozan to only 8 points and 0-8 from the field. Giannis has surprised everyone with his versatility and 2-way potential that he has in the NBA and has prove to everyone that one day can be very special for the NBA.
The last time we saw a player like Giannis Antetokounmpo was LeBron James. When he was able to carry a subpar Cavs team to the Finals in ‘07, we had all known he was going to be a special player and a force to be reckoned with. After that, he was declared the best player in the league. Just like LeBron, Giannis has the chance to become a special player and a force to be reckoned with.
When people talk about a polarizing player in the NBA, the player is one that can change the game and change how teams prepare against him night in and night out. It takes an entire team to stop LeBron and the Cavs from winning every single game. Once Giannis enters his prime, he will be way too fast for any big man to challenge him at the rim and he will be way too big for any guard to be able to stop him. Once Giannis can develop a jump shot and further develop chemistry with his team, it will take perfect execution on offense and defense to stop Giannis from wrecking havoc all over the floor. A polarizing player is also someone who the NBA revolves around. The NBA writes stories about LeBron and whether he will be able to defeat the team that comes out of the West every single time he made the Finals. This year, there has been the debate of whether LeBron can beat this year’s Golden State Warriors, which are considered by the media and fans “a superteam” because of the addition of Kevin Durant. There are stories about how if LeBron beats this year’s Warriors squad, he could ultimately become the GOAT.
Once LeBron starts to age and can’t perform at the insane level he is able to, the NBA will need “a new heir to the throne”. We as fans have never spoke about it because of the parody of the league and how exciting it is right now. Once LeBron steps down from “the throne”, Giannis would probably be able to take it. He will be entering his prime and the level that he is performing at now, he has a great chance to be that player who sits on the throne of the NBA. Once LeBron leaves, the Warriors will the monopoly of the West and the East will have that one player who can single-handedly lead a team to the Finals. Once Giannis is able to develop a jump shot and enters his prime, I don’t see any other team in the East able to challenge Giannis and an uprising Bucks team. Once Giannis enters his prime, it will take an entire team with perfect rotations to stop Giannis from “toying” with other teams because of his polarizing figure and how great he can be as a player.