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NBA MVP Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo is a clear candidate

Thomas Lawson
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
84   //    07 Dec 2018, 04:56 IST

Giannis has elevated to another level this season
Giannis has elevated to another level this season

Last season, Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis 'The Greek Freak' Antetokounmpo lifted his game to potential MVP candidate. He led the Bucks to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and into the playoffs, where they were beaten in seven games by the Boston Celtics in the first round.

Everyone was excited to see where Giannis could take his game to in the following season. Well, through the first 25 games, he has started to show what kind of player he really is.

Milwaukee's coach last year was Jason Kidd, who was leading the team since 2014. Kidd got fired in the middle of the season and Joe Prunty coached the team to a 21 and 16 record in the playoffs. For this season, Mike Budenholzer took the head coaching job at Milwaukee and the team's offence, starting with Antetokounmpo, took off.

Budenholzer has led the Bucks to a 16-7 record, which is second in the East
Budenholzer has led the Bucks to a 16-7 record, which is second in the East

The thing that makes Giannis' game so interesting, is that he is still this good without a 3-point shot. According to Basketball Reference, he is currently only taking just under 14 percent of his field goal attempts from 3, and his 3-point percentage currently sits at 11.1 percentage - well below the league average which is up at 35.1 percent.

Other big men in the same calibre, all have better 3 point percentages than this. Joel Embiid currently sits at 29 percent from three and Anthony Davis currently is at 35.7 percent. For Giannis, that means that his 27 points per game are all coming from drives, dunks and free throws, which, in a certain way, goes against the style of play of most of the league.

After bursting every defence last year with 26.9 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, Antetokounmpo took his game to a greater level in this season.

He is currently averaging 27 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. The Greek Freak has shown what a big man in today's game can do. The way Giannis drives to the lane, using his huge steps, makes him almost impossible to defend.

The way he capitalises on the controversial 'Eurostep' make sit so hard for the defender to judge which way he is going to drive to the basket. the two-time All-Star has such a huge reach, with a wingspan of 2.21 m, and standing at 6 ft 11, there is only one way to describe him - a basketball monster.

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Milwaukee's best player is performing at the highest level of his career
Milwaukee's best player is performing at the highest level of his career

If Giannis keeps developing his game, he could end the season averaging 30 points per game - without a 3 point shot. He will make his third All-Star game this season and is in contention for All NBA 1st team selection. If his numbers can hold on, his game continues to improve, and the Bucks remain as one of the best teams in the league record-wise, he is in line to be an MVP finalist as well.

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Thomas Lawson
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