The drought is over. For the first time since Michael Redd in the 2003-04 season, the Milwaukee Bucks have an All-Star.
After finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference front court in voting last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo was selected Thursday as an Eastern Conference starter, the first Buck since Sidney Moncrief in 1985-86 to be selected as an All-Star game starter. Giannis received 1,604,718 total votes from the fan, media, and player votes. He received 84, 617 votes last season.
That big of a jump shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has taken a glance at Giannis’ development during his time in Milwaukee. As a wide-eyed, teenage rookie, he had to slowly earn more minutes in Larry Drew’s rotation. Four years later, the soon-to-be $100 million man is leading the team both to a playoff run and statistically in points (23.7), rebounds (8.7), assists (5.6), steals (1.8), and blocks (2.1). If he were to maintain his statistical stranglehold on the team and get the Bucks into the playoffs, he’d join Dave Cowens, Scottie Pippen, Kevin Garnett, and LeBron James as the only players to accomplish such a feat. That’s not just pleasant All-star company he’d be joining; that’s rarified air amongst some of the league’s greats. That production for any player is amazing, let alone a 22-year-old.
Giannis will be joined in the Eastern Conference starting lineup by Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving. The Western Conference starters will be NOT Russell Westbrook (Stephen Curry), James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis. The All-Star Reserves will be announced next week and All-Star weekend will take place February 17th-19th in New Orleans at The Smoothie King Center. How fitting.