Photo Source: The National Herald
Giannis Antetokounmpo has a had a fantastic season thus far and it reflects on the Bucks’ success. Milwaukee finds themselves at 14-6 through 20 games behind Antetokounmpo’s play this year, vaulting them to 2nd in the East. Although his season has been nothing short of spectacular, it doesn’t seem to be in the spotlight as much as it should. While the household names such as LeBron, Kevin Durant, and James Harden take up the headlines, Giannis has had just as good of a season or even better than those players mentioned.
Giannis has gone through quite the progression since entering the league back in the 2013-14 NBA season. During his first year as a starter for the Bucks, he was averaging a mere 13 points per game along with 7 rebounds and 6 assists on 49% shooting. Fast-Forward to this season where he is putting up 27 points per game, 13 rebounds and 6 assists on 57% shooting. He has come a long way from being the skinny teenager from Greece. His only flaw has been his outside shot, shooting 27% from the 3-point line throughout his career. This year he is at a career low 12% from deep. Despite the struggles from distance, he still manages to maintain his status as one of the leagues best scorers. There is still time for him to improve on his 3-point shooting as he is only 24 years old. Giannis is listed at 6’11”, 222 pounds with a 7’4” wingspan allowing him to play bully ball like a big while running the floor like a guard. He is regarded as one of the leagues most prominent defenders, making him a lethal two-way player.
In addition to his outstanding per game averages, the Greek Freak’s advanced stats suggest he has an MVP season on the horizon. He leads the league in VOR (Value Over Replacement), Second in the league in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) and second in the league in Win Shares. These stats have far more relevance when it comes to the MVP race than the others. Not to mention his team is also playing phenomenal basketball which is taken into very serious consideration when deciding the MVP. Giannis needs more credit and more recognition than what he is receiving. His per game averages stack up among the best in the league so far. He ranks 7th in the league in points per game, 5th in rebounds per game and 13th in field goal percentage. He is the only non-big man in the top 20 in rebounds per game and is the only non-big-man in the top 15 in field goal percentage. Neither LeBron nor Kevin Durant, who are widely regarded as two of the favorites to take home the MVP this year, have those type of numbers. The Bucks even have a higher winning percentage than Durant’s Warriors team. All signs point to this season being the year of Giannis Antetokounmpo.