Is Giannis Antetokounmpo the real deal?
Giannis Antetokounmpo has started the 2017-18 season on fire. Can he keep it up and be a real contender for the MVP candidate?
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Greek, 6'11'', 220-pound freak. He is probably the closest thing we have seen to a complete player in a very long time. The Greek Freak is a very apt name for him. He can play at all 5 positions, Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Small Forward, Point Forward, and Center. He can dribble past the opponents, he can dunk on the centers, nothing is impossible when Giannis has the ball. Watch him destroy Aron Baynes on opening night:
That's just one play, Giannis does this so often that there is no way you can't keep him in any conversation regarding MVP. He just does what he is meant to do: Take down everyone in his path. He can take the contact and land the shot, getting his team the crucial points they need. In the game vs Portland, Giannis does everything for the Bucks alone in 30 seconds. Gets the steals, lands the dunk and then the game-winning rejection on the Portland center, Jusuf Nurkic. Below, we see the steal and the fastbreak dunk:
Antetokounmpo had led his team in the 5 major categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks) last season. He averaged just under 22.9 points, around 9 rebounds a game, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.9 blocks a game last season. Those numbers had only one way to go this season and that was up. Giannis averages 31.3 points per game, 10.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.8 blocks this season, 13 games in. Again, leading the Bucks in all major statistics and staking his claim for the MVP discussion and he is just 22 years old. If he continues the way he has started this season, his last season stats look like his basement and not his ceiling.
Plays like this show how much Giannis has not only improved on his handling skills but also how physically strong he has become this offseason: Taking the contact and slamming in the dunk on players that are almost always bigger. He has been taking a way bigger role this season, leading the league in usage rate as well, almost single-handedly carrying the Bucks to wins over teams. But everyone has their limits and Antetokounmpo can only do so much. Here is him trying to take down the King:
There are things he can do and things he still can't, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is on the right path and deserves to be in the discussion for the MVP of this season. The Eastern Conference is more competitive than ever and The Greek Freak is on a one-man mission to take the Bucks to the playoffs. He has turned the league on its head, taking it towards a truly position-less game, where the Centers can be the Point Guards. There is nobody like Giannis yet, maybe there will be soon, but for now, enjoy Antetokounmpo destroy teams and beat anyone and everyone that stands in his way and win the MVP title.