Welcome to Brew Hoop’s entirely subjective and emotionally-driven 2017-18 Milwaukee Bucks season player evaluations. For this series, we wanted to look at each current Buck and ask three questions: what they do that helps (Boon), what they do that hurts (Bane), and whether they ought to be on this team (Belonging).
I had a cool logo featuring a trio of Bs, but got a “cease and desist” notice from a lawyer wearing $200 flip flops. Oh well. Today, we’re looking at Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s newest super-duper-star and the focus of everything basketball in Milwaukee.
"I want to be a better basketball player, a better leader, a better person...I want my teammates to know I'm going to ride with them, I'm going to do whatever it take for them."@Giannis_An34 Exit Interview Part 1: pic.twitter.com/zEzNAit8uf— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 29, 2018
Season Stats (per 36 minutes)
- Points/36: 26.3 (4th among power forwards, 9th overall)
- Rebounds/36: 9.8 (16th among power forwards)
- Assists/36: 4.7 (6th among power forwards)
- Steals/36: 1.4 (10th among power forwards)
- Blocks/36: 1.4 (16th among power forwards)
Giannis’ Boon: < ERROR: SYSTEM OVERLOAD >
There are too many things that Giannis does exceptionally well for me to choose one. My goal was to avoid using data for this series, but Giannis requires statistical context to even begin to understand his full impact. He ranks in the top 10 league-wide in points and rebounds, in the top 20 for assists, steals, and blocks, and boasts a PER of 28.0 (fifth overall). He has the NBA’s sixth-highest usage rate (31.3%), and still lands in the top 50 players in both eFT% and TS%. You could argue that his positional versatility is his defining characteristic; who else (besides LeBron) could play center, forward, and guard in the same possession, much less the same game? Another choice could be his absurdly efficient scoring ability; he leads the league in shot attempts at the rim (9.7 FGA/game of less than 5 feet), and among players who have attempted at least 6.0 field goals per game in the restricted area, Giannis is third in the NBA in accuracy (70.8 FG%). And we haven’t talked about his transcendent transition game, or his ability to contest shots (and outright prevent them), or the gravity he generates while still shooting below league average from deep (32.1%). Like I said, there’s too many things that he brings to the table for me to choose one. Giannis is amazing, in a way that adequately fits the definition of the word.
Giannis’ Bane: Always Fighting Through It
The idea that someone can be their own worst enemy takes many forms, and for Giannis it manifests when a defense forms a <expletive> wall...and he goes for a shot anyway. Sometimes it works out (from 2016), but this season especially, defenses regularly keyed in on Giannis when he had the ball. Too often (especially during his midseason slump), he would charge ahead anyway and end up taking too tough of a shot, losing the ball, or (most frequently) settling for a sub-par shot from midrange. This is partly due to the Bucks’ slog of an offensive system, and partly due to his teammates’ tendency to stand still, but the less Leeroy Jenkins he channels, the better.
Does Giannis Belong?
At this point, you could take the Bucks’ roster, chisel “Giannis Antetokounmpo” onto a stone tablet, glaze that tablet and fire it in a kiln, laminate it twice, store the tablet in a locked glass case, and move that glass case into a secret government compound, and Giannis’ presence on the roster would still be more secure than that. He’s not the face of the franchise, he is the franchise. LeBron James set the precedent that players at that level could take control of their destination, which is why the theme of the Bucks’ next three seasons revolves around the “ticking clock” of Giannis’ eventual contract expiration. Declarations of loyalty aside, the Bucks know what is at stake, and are focused on building the right team around Giannis. As they should be.
"Jabari ain't going nowhere...he's going to be here and he's going to be ready for the next season. And we are going to be all excited, playing in a new arena and everyone is going to be having fun."@Giannis_An34 Exit Interview Part 2: pic.twitter.com/vv0nCaNZk3— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) April 29, 2018