The rise of Giannis Antetokounmpo has been very apparent to start this season. While basketball nerds were fully aware of all of his capabilities, it seems that that the rest of NBA fans have finally bought their tickets to the Antetokounmpo show.
The numbers fully back the hype as he’s having a tremendous season thus far. He’s easily the Most Improved Player of the Year and I don’t see anyone more credible for that award. Giannis’s numbers have increased in every category while he’s doing his best to lead the Bucks into the playoffs this season.
Coming into the league, what made Giannis Antetokounmpo stand out was his athletic ability at 6’11”. He had the title of a slasher but with his playmaking ability, he quickly drew comparisons to guys like Magic Johnson and LeBron James. Similar to James, he had the ‘Freak of Nature‘ description that followed him everywhere he went which is how he adopted the ‘Greek Freak’ nickname. His elongated steps combined with his stretch-like arms is something that’s rare in the league today and quite hard to stop!
I’ve grown fond of his play in transition. His silky smooth steps and creativeness around the basket is a thing of beauty. Giannis finishes with either hand off of either foot and will still throw it down on your head just when you thought the rim was out of reach. Watching him observe the court, decide what he wants to do and then execute is every player’s dream. LeBron is always praised for his power and strength to get what he wants while Giannis gets there with length and finesse.
Even when he doesn’t see something that he likes, he has the wits to slow up the offense, change pace, and get what he wants. If you check out the clip below, you will see a great example of where he stops, observes the court, and patiently waits to seek his opportunity.
One thing that goes unnoticed with Giannis’s game is his hustle to get buckets. In today’s game, players are prone to stop at the three-point line on a fastbreak whereas Antetokounmpo makes it a point to rim-run. And even in some cases as transition begins, he’s often the guy furthest from the basket and sprints past every defender including his own to get a bucket at the rim. Those type of plays are so unappreciated by the typical fan but that type of hustle is beloved and something that can’t be taught.
The buzz around Giannis Antetokounmpo is starting to turn into craze and it’s well deserved. His gifted abilities has taken the world by storm but what I’ve taken a liken to is his patience and elegance in transition. The determination to outwork and out-hustle his opponents has granted him success while also leading to easy buckets out on the floor. This season has been nothing less than great for Giannis thus far and I’m hoping he can sustain it for the remainder of the year.
Check out a few of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s transition buckets in his last five games. He’s averaging 27.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.4 blocks, and has a game-winner in this five-game duration.