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Dissecting Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Unique Defensive Game

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Examining Giannis Antetokounmpo’s defensive versatility as well as his biggest weakness.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t your traditional stud defender for the Milwaukee Bucks. He doesn’t usually defend the opposing team’s best player and completely take them out of the game. He won’t man up with someone like Kevin Durant and go one-on-one with them. Furthermore, even though his defensive capabilities are far more encompassing, he also has clear-cut weaknesses.

One of the hardest things to measure in basketball is an individual’s impact on defense. Especially for a player like Antetokounmpo. He doesn’t fit into a neatly defined box when it comes to his role or his impact on the court. That can make it difficult for some to accurately assess the impact he has. Sure, there are some catch-all defensive metrics that do their best to measure an individual’s defensive impact, but they don’t do Antetokounmpo justice. In order to best explain his defensive versatility, and to cover his greatest weakness, let’s just show you:

The video covers the following topics:

  • Antetokounmpo’s uniqueness as a defender
  • How defensive metrics are helpful, but only one tool to measure a player’s impact
  • His play as the “free safety” of the Bucks’ defense
  • Specific video examples about how he impacts the game off the ball
  • Examining his major defensive weaknesses, including lack of lateral quickness and inability to fight over ball screens
  • Discussion on how to overcome his weaknesses

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