Giannis Antetokounmpo has gotten some of the highest praise in the league for a player who is still so young. The 23-year-old has now been in the league for five years, but it really feels like ten. The progress over the past three seasons for the Greek Freak didn’t come by surprise to many fans from Greece and Bucks fans alike, but to the rest of the basketball world, it did.
It just took him to finally grow into an NBA body, and develop a comfortable mid-range game. He’s done that and more.
Progressing into the role of a true floor general for Miluawkee and becoming a dominant player on an every night basis, Giannis was a competitor for the MVP last season. He averaged 26.9 ppg with 10 total rebounds per game. For a franchise in Milwaukee that hasn’t had a star name in quite some time, Giannis takes the term ‘star’ in Miluawkee to another level.
While stardom and individual success is something every NBA player wants to achieve, Giannis has more pressure than ever before to take Miluawkee Bucks basketball to new heights, heights the franchise hasn’t seen in quite some time.
Question is, did the organization do enough to surround him with talent to help carry the load? We all know individual success can only go so far in this league, especially now with both conferences being so deep. Below is why Giannis and the Bucks could have some playoff success this season, or why they could be going home early for yet another year.
Why They Can Have Playoff Success
One of the best offseason moves in the coaching realm was the Bucks hiring Mike Budenhozler. He brings a mindset of multiple different types of offenses and could have some really good opportunities with the veterans the Bucks have on the roster. The addition of Brook Lopez was huge for a presence down low and a big man who can create some really good spacing. The former All-Star has turned himself into a stretch five over the past two seasons, shooting 34.6 percent from 3 on 4.8 attempts per game in 149 games.
Ersan Ilyasova, previously a Buck in the past, can really spread the floor and create opportunities on the outside, spreading the floor for Giannis. The biggest issue for the Bucks last season was their inability to create driving lanes for Giannis, and additions of shooting with Ilyasova, and Pat Connaughton will be key. This is the deepest team Giannis has played on and the players fit together better than in previous seasons. With their three main scorers of Giannis, Middleton, and Bledsoe, the surrounding pieces all do one thing needed more than ever in this league, and that’s shooting. Giannis can take care of the rest.
Even with LeBron James leaving the Eastern Conference, the East is still very deep. The hype for Boston is real and even though Philadelphia didn’t acquire any big names, they didn’t lose much after finishing third in the East. The Bucks will have plenty of competition in the middle of the Eastern Conference with Toronto, Miami, and Charlotte. The chances of them making it out of the first round are very high if they can take care of business in the regular season. The reason why they had to settle for the sixth seed last season was not being able to finish games out towards the end of the season.
This all comes down to Giannis and head coach Mike Budenholzer in the end. Budenholzer always had a tough time getting past LeBron when he was in Atlanta. Now having a guy who is the closest thing to LeBron the NBA currently has, and LeBron leaving for LA, the opportunity couldn’t be greater. With three years left on his contract, Coach Budenholzer and Giannis have to show why they can be a real duo pairing. Budenholzer can open up the paint for Giannis, let him dominate the ball for long stretches of the game, and feature him in defensive schemes that take advantage of his ability to switch screens.
The NBA doesn’t want to face the Greek Freak, but outside of him, the Bucks have to show why they can gel together to create a scary product as a unit and consistently do it for the whole season.