The 2017 NBA Playoffs, for the most part, have been quite predictable. Teams that were supposed to win, have been winning, except for the Boston Celtics. Then, there’s the usual one or two exciting series in the First Round. One of those has been the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors series. What this series is telling us, apart from the Raptors struggling a little in the postseason again, is that Giannis Antetokounmpo is ready for the spotlight.
We have all seen the improving prospect that was Giannis Antetokounmpo when he was first drafted. A lanky, do-it-all forward that was still very raw in terms of skill and IQ. His potential was through the roof, and the Milwaukee Bucks decided to take a chance on him. Since then, he has done nothing but improve season after season. As he was going through the growing pains, he was able to see some Playoff basketball once, but it was a short stint due to a much more experienced Chicago Bulls team.
Giannis was in the top 20 of five major statistical categories this season. He’s the first player to do that in NBA history. You’re reading that correctly. Now, through two games, he is averaging 26 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game while shooting 52.4% from the floor. If you need some kind of comparison for that, LeBron James is averaging 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists per game on 57.5% shooting. Sure, Giannis is a bit lower in some stats, but let’s remember he’s only 22 years old. The last time the Bucks were in the playoffs, in the 2014-15 season, Giannis only put up 11.5 points and 7 rebounds per game. That kind of progression in just two seasons is astounding.
So, here we are, heading into Game Three of the First Round series with Giannis and the Bucks taking on the Toronto Raptors and their backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors have a lot to prove if they want to avoid blowing up the whole team, while the Bucks are showing that they can hang with the veterans. Giannis, most importantly, is on his way to showing everyone he can carry a team. All of us say, time and time again, the NBA Playoffs is where superstars make their name. Even though many people can’t pronounce his name, and even fewer know how to spell it, Giannis is here to make sure he becomes a household name. Milwaukee will go as far as Giannis can carry them, and as this series progresses, it looks as though he can lead them a series win. Get ready Milwaukee, Game Three is going to be an exciting one, and this series will be the re-introduction of Giannis Antetokounmpo into stardom.