It’s time to appreciate Giannis Antetokounmpo for what he is.
As NBA fans we like to nitpick, we want our superstars to be complete, well-rounded players and we expect a lot from them. What we seem to forget when evaluating individual players is that every player has weaknesses or holes in their games.
Antetokounmpo is no exception, the shot selection has been frustrating at times, the free throw shooting can be a problem and some have doubted his ability to lead a team to the a championship, asking questions like, “Is Giannis a ‘Batman’ or a ‘Robin?'” While no NBA player is above criticism, Antetokounmpo seems to get more than his fair share despite clearly being one of the best players in the league.
Officially listed at 6-foot-11, 242 pounds with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Antetokounmpo’s physical stature coupled with his freakish athletic abilities make his easily one of the best basketball bodies of all time but what make’s Antetokounmpo great is the effort he puts into using that size and physicality every possession of every game.
In the 2021 NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo is proving he can dominate in his own way.
Coming into Sunday’s Game 3, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks were down 0-2 in the series to the Phoenix Suns despite a monster 42-point performance from Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee’s Game 2 loss. The Suns won the game, but Antetokounmpo seemed to reach a new level in the second half and has been on a tear ever since.
In Game 3, Antetokounmpo played one of the best games of his life and he did it with force on both ends. The Buck’s Superstar put up 41 points on 14-23 shooting from the field along with 13 rebounds and six assists. It was clear the Suns had no answer Antetokounmpo’s physicality and he knew it, as he began constantly demanding for the ball from his teammates so he could go to work on his defender. Antetokounmpo cut most of the pull-up jump shots and got back to what he does best, beating defenders up near the basket.
In the playoffs, Antetokounmpo is shooting a ridiculous 75.4% on shots from within five feet and leads the league with over 11 of those shots per game. As a result of his relentless battling down low, Phoenix sent Antetokounmpo to the line 17 times in Game 3, where he shot a respectable 76.4%.
The beauty of Antetokounmpo’s game is that all the offensive numbers are just part of the story because he’s also an elite defensive player. With the ability to switch onto and stick with the Sun’s star Guards in Devin Booker and Chris Paul as well as disrupt center Deandre Ayton make Antetokounmpo one of the leagues most versatile defenders and he showcased his entire skillset in Game 3.
No matter how this series ends, Antetokounmpo has shown he’s not just one of the best players in the game today but an all-time talent.
In these playoffs and in this series in particular, Antetokounmpo is proving to be the type of player that can will his team to a win despite being outmatched from a talent perspective. Antetokounmpo has been an unstoppable scorer in addition to being a great rebounder, a key distributor and one of the best defensive players in the league. Regardless of any holes in his game, Antetokounmpo is dominating on his terms and when he does that, his team typically wins as a result.
No player is perfect, Antetokounmpo certainly isn’t. He may not shoot like Steph Curry, or have handles like Kyrie Irving and he doesn’t see the court like Chris Paul, but Antetokounmpo is currently the most unstoppable physical force on both ends of the court in the NBA. Win or lose this series, Giannis Antetokounmpo has made his mark as an all-time player.
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