Giannis Antetokounmpo has begun his eighth year with the Milwaukee Bucks in the same way he left off - as one of the most dominant players in the league. The 2020-21 NBA season could be a turbulent one for most teams. However, Bucks fans will be more settled in the knowledge that their superstar will be around for the foreseeable future after Antetokounmpo signed a contract extension during the off-season.
The Greek power forward is expected to rule supreme over the Eastern Conference again. However, he may have to perform at an even greater level if he is to achieve his goal of winning a ring with the Milwaukee Bucks.
On that note, let's take a look at five bold predictions about Giannis Antetokounmpo for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Five bold predictions about Giannis Antetokounmpo for the 2020/21 NBA season
#5 Lead the league in steals
Giannis Antetokounmpo has consistently proven that he is not only a menacing offensive player but is a tenacious defender as well.
Giannis Antetokounmpo received his first Defensive Player of the Year trophy and is among the favorites to win back-to-back titles this season. Part of the forward's prolific defensive ability is his length and his ability to consistently steal the ball from opponents and block shots.
So far, Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged 1.8 steals per game this season and could well lead the league come the end of the year. '
76ers guard Ben Simmons averaged 2.1 steals per game when he led the league in the 2019-20 season. Therefore, it is not an unattainable goal for Giannis Antetokounmp while leading one of the most astute defenses in the league.
#4 Shoot over 75% from the Free-Throw line
Despite continuing to get to the line, Giannis Antetokounmpo's free-throw percentage has been falling over the last two seasons.
In 2017 and '18, he shot 77 and 76% respectively from the line. However, the power forward will want to arrest the steady decline in the accuracy of his free-throws.
Last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo got to the line a career-high ten times per game but sank only 63.3% of his efforts. Due to his length and aggressive drives to the basket, the reigning-MVP will incessantly be fouled by opponents.
However, if his poor percentage continues, the opposition will be less wary of the Greek going to the line than allowing him to work his magic down low.
#3 Win a three-peat of MVP trophies
Giannis Antetokounmpo has lit up the NBA in the past two seasons, averaging 28.5 points and 13 rebounds per game respectively to pick up the MVP trophy on both occasions. The Greek superstar accomplished the same by holding off serial scorers such as James Harden.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the NBA during both of his MVP-winning seasons. He will hope to do the same this year too. However, he may have to perform beyond his 2019-20 figures if the Bucks are to do so, as the likes of the Brooklyn Nets are close favorites for the top spot.
If Giannis Antetokounmpo achieves a three-peat of MVP honors, he would join a truly illustrious group comprising of Celtics' legends Bill Russell and Larry Bird.
#2 Average 32 PPG
As mentioned earlier, if the Bucks are to finish top of the East again this season, they will need their leader Giannis Antetokounmpo to have another stellar year.
Milwaukee have thus far had a mixed start with a 2-3 record although they have been averaging an extremely healthy 124.2 points per game. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo is only averaging 22.4 points himself per game. That is in part due to the fact that in their two blowout victories over the Miami Heat and Warriors, Giannis Antetokounmpo' minutes were controlled.
Against the Celtics, however, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 36 points while he tallied 27 against the Knicks.
When coach Budenholzer needs the forward to be involved he will use him to his full capacity. However, if Milwaukee have serious intentions of finishing with the best record again in the Eastern Conference, Giannis Antetokounmpo may have to push his game to even higher levels and become an even more dominant scorer.
#1 Lead the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA Championship
Giannis Antetokounmpo made it clear during the off-season that all he cares about with his legacy is winning an NBA Championship. Whether that is with the Milwaukee Bucks or some other team, the power forward isn't concerned.
After underperforming for a number of years and failing to make the NBA Finals, the franchise continued to improve their roster in the hope of winning a ring and keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.
Jrue Holiday arrived to bolster the defense and in came DJ Augustin and Torrey Craig as well as draft pick Jordan Nwora to supply points off the bench. Thus, this year could be Milwaukee's best opportunity to win the ring. With Antetokounmpo at the peak of his powers, the Bucks going all the way this season is not an inconceivable proposition.Published 31 Dec 2020, 22:36 IST