Well, this comes as no shock, but Giannis Antetokounmpo claimed the top spot of Brew Hoop’s Ranking The Roster poll!
It was another phenomenal season for Antetokounmpo in his seventh year as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. He compiled 28.1 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game while playing 33 minutes per game. He converted on 57% of his field-goal attempts which is the second-highest mark so far in his career. He finished the season making only 30% of his threes which is slightly above his career average (28.7%) and shot 68% from the charity stripe which is the highest mark since the 2018-2019 season.
While the regular season numbers are always going to be jaw-dropping for Giannis, his biggest improvement came in the postseason. We have seen him struggle in prior postseason series handling double-teams as he would make silly turnovers or try and force a pass to a teammate who was covered on the opposite side of the floor. However, this last postseason was a totally different Giannis. He was still an unstoppable force, but he was much more patient when facilitating the basketball and having the game come to him, and not forcing the issue. You can’t succeed without falling flat on your face, and the last few disappointing endings for both Antetokounmpo and the Bucks certainly helped them finally win an NBA title.
While his postseason averages are similar to his regular-season averages, the “eye test” would tell us differently. He wasn’t the sharpest in the first-round series versus the Miami Heat, but that did not necessarily matter with how well the supporting cast of Khris Middleton, Bryn Forbes, Brook Lopez, and Jrue Holiday played. Granted, Antetokounmpo “struggling” would still be a great day for any other player in the NBA. The second-round series against the Brooklyn Nets is where things got very interesting, especially in games one and two. Giannis struggled against Blake Griffin, oftentimes trying to attack too quickly before the offense was set or settling for jumpers. He finished with eight assists and eight turnovers in those first two contests. Granted 20 turnovers over the last five games on that series is certainly not ideal, but he was finally able to find success attacking the teeth of Brooklyn’s defense for easy scores. A 40/13/5 closeout game seven performance to advance to the Eastern Conference seems like a whale of an effort, but to be honest, it’s just another day at the office for Giannis.
Milwaukee dropped the first two games despite Antetokounmpo playing efficiently on one leg. The biggest letdown was the Game Two defeat where he finished with 42 points on 15-of-22 shooting. They never backed down, though, and ended up winning the last four games, including a fantastic comeback in Game Five where the Suns took a commanding first-quarter lead. Over those final four games, Giannis committed only eight turnovers which is astounding for someone who has the ball in his hands as much as he does. His Game Six performance to close out the Suns will go down in history as one of the most dominant performances in NBA Finals history. I mean, 50 points on 64% shooting is just fantastic. I haven’t even mentioned the array of incredible defensive stops he made. Not too shabby for someone who couldn’t successfully pass out of a double-team the last few postseasons.
Giannis Antetokounmpo joins Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players NBA history to win a regular season MVP Award, a Finals MVP Award and a Defensive Player of the Year Award. pic.twitter.com/Ks1Uhf9EA8— NBA History (@NBAHistory) July 21, 2021
Basketball is a team sport and the acquisition of point guard Jrue Holiday helped the Milwaukee Bucks in a plethora of ways. Antetokounmpo had the luxury of playing off-ball and as a screener which propelled their offense to new heights and made them that much more impossible to defend. It was a historic season for both the Bucks and Giannis, but the reality of it is, he is still getting better and I firmly believe the best has yet to come from the Greek Freak.
We are spoiled.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's resume at 26 years old:— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 21, 2021
◽️ Finals MVP
◽️ NBA Champion
◽️ 2x NBA MVP
◽️ 3x All-NBA First Team
◽️ Defensive Player of the Year
◽️ 3x All-Defensive First Team
◽️ All-Star Game MVP
◽️ 5x All-Star
◽️ Most Improved Player pic.twitter.com/BhbDlvZCPi