Score one for the big picture?
The Bucks maintained their lead in the lotto standings on Friday night with their league-worst 23rd loss in Brooklyn, which may or may not be your idea of a good thing. But one thing we can all agree on: Giannis Antetokounmpo keeps getting better and better, and that's a very good thing indeed.
Antetokounmpo topped his previous career bests with 16 points (5/12 fg, 1/5 threes, 5/6 ft) and 10 rebounds in a team-high 33 minutes, adding three blocks and a heaping dose of energy to an another lackluster performance from Milwaukee. Pretty much everything got started for Giannis either on the break or on dribble handoffs near the top of the key. The rebound-and-push stuff we've seen from Giannis since day one; that kind of fun seems to be seared into his DNA and Larry Drew has encouraged him in that phase since training camp. Aside from the chances created out of those situations, it's also nice to see how in control he's been--it's not in the highlight reels, but he's patient enough to slow down and reset the offense when he doesn't have numbers. You'd expect more dumb mistakes from the youngest, most inexperienced player in the league, but...well, we're really not seeing too many of them.
But the halfcourt game is where Giannis has the most room to grow, and it's encouraging to see Larry Drew giving Giannis increased opportunities. Whereas previously we mostly saw Giannis just parked in the corner waiting to run the baseline, he's now seeing some playcalls off the bounce. Nothing too complicated, but you can see it in the video above--a curl around the top, where he takes a handoff from a big man/screener and then uses his momentum (and length) to attack the basket.
Last night's game pushed his averages as a starter to 11.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.4 turnovers on .471/.364/.870 shooting in 33.8 minutes. His efficiency numbers aren't anything to sneeze at either--he leads the team in free throw rate (0.542 FTA/FGA) and only John Henson and Miroslav Raduljica have posted a better PER (14.3) and WS/48 (.109) than Giannis.
And in case there was any doubt: yes, people are noticing.
I think I like Greek Freak more than anyone in the 2014 Draft. I'm not even kidding.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) December 28, 2013
Good things, man. Very good things.