Giannis to the right, Giannis to the left, Giannis over the top. Giannis in transition, Giannis cutting, Giannis passing...Giannis from 20 feet?
Call it another day at the office for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who followed up his 20-point effort against the Clippers on December 13 with a box-score stuffing 18-point, 9-rebound, 6-assist effort in L.A. on Saturday.
As for how he did it? Well, fewer isolation plays and no real post-ups this time around, though the beauty of Giannis right now is that there's no single way he does his damage. Though he continues to do most of his work in the basket area, Saturday saw him causing problems in transition and off the ball, with a couple of nice iso moves mixed in for good measure.
We've also been seeing more of Giannis as the screener in P&R over the past week, direct fallout from Jabari Parker's season-ending knee injury. Along with Larry Sanders, Parker was previously the most common screen-setter for Brandon Knight, but with Jabari done for the season we're seeing Giannis used more and more in that role. It's not paying big dividends yet; ironically, he sprained his ankle in Portland on a nice roll play that should have resulted in a dunk. But his combination of length and good (/enormous) hands could certainly make him a dangerous roll guy, especially if he can at some point develop a solid jump shot to make him more of a pop threat as well. As for whether Giannis will be more dangerous as the ball handler or roll guy in P&R situations...well, that figures to be part of the fun of watching Giannis over the next few years.
Lastly, let's not overlook Giannis' career-best six assists either. They didn't come from Giannis looking much like a point guard, but obviously that's not how he's being used either. Instead, Giannis flashed his good vision and awareness both on the break and in half court, including once off the catch in a P&R action. Not many bigs are heady enough to see a teammate camped out on the perimeter after they catch the ball on their way to the hoop, but then again Giannis' isn't your average big guy either. In one quick movement he caught and swung it to the left for an open three, and overall it seemed like about half of his assists were similar types of kickouts -- get one foot in the paint, feel the gravity of the defense, and move it to a teammate open on the perimeter.
More small steps for Giannis, more reasons to dream about big steps down the road for Bucks fans.