For the fourth consecutive year Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the Most Valuable Buck. The MVB four-peat comes as no surprise considering the 22 year old has been the focus of the franchise’s “Own the Future” marketing and embodies the future more than any other player on the roster. The awards and accolades that the Greek Freak tallied up this past season has laid the foundation of what should be an even better 2017-2018 season. It’s amazing to look at his past season and think, this isn’t even his final form.
Like when he hit his first career buzzer beater on a rangy step-back at Madison Square Garden and we all thought, “This is the first of many”:
A crunch step-back jumper from @Giannis_An34 led the @Bucks to a win, making it today's @TISSOT Buzzer Beater! #ThisIsYourTime pic.twitter.com/hrxlqWNGrY— NBAIndia (@NBAIndia) January 5, 2017
And when he played a semblance of defense in his first All-Star game, because of course he did, and he emphatically finished around an unwilling-to-be-posterized Stephen Curry, and we all thought, “Yeah his motor doesn’t stop”:
Get posterized by #Giannis ? No thanks#NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/cH98XU1crd— NBA.com (@NBAcom) February 20, 2017
Or when he soared so high that his elbow rejected a futile attempt from Norman Powell, and we all thought, “Okay yeah that was incredible and final form Giannis is almost upon us”:
Giannis blocked it with his elbow pic.twitter.com/wy3NvsJfOh— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 21, 2017
There are many more highlights, gifs, and workout pictures of Giannis to justify that he is the next bona fide NBA star. Not only does he pass the eye test, his statistical line is just as incredible.
Giannis set career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game while becoming the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in every major, per-game statistical category. The foursome he joined includes: Dave Cowens (HoF ‘91), Scottie Pippen (HoF ‘10), Kevin Garnett (Future HoF-er) and LeBron James (Future HoF-er); that is one heck of a group to join. Giannis also became the first player in NBA history to finish in the Top-20 league leaderboard in each of total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
So how can he possibly improve on a season that, statistically speaking, had never been done before? The most obvious flaw in his game is his inaccuracy from beyond the three point arc. He posted a 27.2% mark for the season, which was a career high, but it was still just 27.2%. Adding a few percentage points to that total would be critical in having defenders venture out to the perimeter to get a hand in his face. Giannis is at his best when he’s slashing towards the rim and keeping the defense honest with a respectable three-point shot will help his game as he blows by the oncoming perimeter defender. The tricky part to that equation is how much sacrifice to his slash and explode game will be made to improve his deep ball?
Here’s his shot chart from last season:
He is most effective when he gets to the rim, obviously, and if he were to take a couple handfuls of those long-twos and extend them out past the three point line, then there would be little sacrifice to what the Greek Freak does best - getting to the hoop. This also begs the question as to whether he even needs to improve on his three-point shooting? He became an All-Star without a reliable three-point shot, he was named to the All-NBA Second Team without a reliable three point shot, and he won Most Improved Player without a reliable three-point shot. Is a full season of playing with three-point marksmen Khris Middleton, Tony Snell, and Sterling Brown enough to be okay with a plateau in Giannis’ three-point shot development? It looks like it could be.
The start of the 2017 season also marks the start of Giannis’ post-rookie deal contract. He is signed through the end of the 2020-2021 season and the overwhelming feeling is that the Bucks championship window will be open for as long as #34 is in Milwaukee. The franchise has four solid years to take advantage of the former 15th-overall-pick-turned-superstar and become legit championship contenders. In the mean time, Giannis’ trophy case will likely continue to grow. He’s already corralled All-Rookie, All-Defensive, and All-NBA honors with more to come as his career progresses; it is just a matter of time until his perpetual MVB nods turn into an MVP trophy.
Brew Hoop 2017-18 Roster Ranking
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo
2. Khris Middleton
3. Jabari Parker
4. Malcolm Brogdon
5. Thon Maker
6. Greg Monroe
7. Tony Snell
8. D.J. Wilson
9. Matthew Dellavedova
10. Sterling Brown
11. Mirza Teletovic
12. John Henson
13. Rashad Vaughn
14. Spencer Hawes
15. Gary Payton II