Giannis Antetokounmpo has done many things in the NBA. As the 15th pick in the 2013 draft, he will be known as one of the biggest steals in NBA history.
The eighth-year superstar from Greece celebrates his 27th birthday Monday, so because it's Giannis Antetokounmpo's day to shine, let's examine what he still needs to accomplish in the NBA despite already having a resume most would love to have.
At 6-foot-11, 242 pounds, Giannis Antetokounmpo is an anamoly. He can guard any position on the floor, score with the best of them, be in contention for rebounding titles and bring the ball up the floor to set up the Milwaukee Bucks offense. He is one of the most vicious dunkers in NBA history, and how he gets to the rim so violently is one of his most feared attributes.
Coach Mike Budenholzer trusts Antetokounmpo to lead the team through his passion to win and desire to become the best.
In 2016-17, Antetokounmpo became the first player in NBA history to rank in the top 20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He has been on a tear since that season, and as the Bucks wrack up the wins, Antetokounmpo will only continue to rise in the NBA's annals.
Already, Antetokounmpo has won the NBA title, leading the way as the Finals MVP, twice been named the league's MVP, been an All-Star five times and also earned awards as the 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year and 2016-17 Most Improved Player of the Year.
Battling NBA history
With so much already accomplished, Antetokounmpo is a rare athlete who is still young enough to shift the course of his legacy. He is one of the most unstoppable athletes the game has seen, and as he continues to ascend, he will begin to be compared with the best big men who ever lived.
His only weakness is his shooting.
His 71% free throw percentage isn't bad, yet Antetokounmpo has airballed a few from the line, and his free throw percentage falls to 61% in the playoffs. The difference between Antetokounmpo and other scrutinized free throw shooters is he does not lack the confidence to shoot the ball. If he misses, he'll just focus on the next attempt.
Shooting just 28% from the arc is something to improve, yet how much should he improve?
No. 3: Shoot 40% from the 3-point arc
Imagine if Giannis Antetokounmpo shot the ball as effectively as the NBA standard for 3-point shooters? The Milwaukee Bucks would be so difficult to defeat, and the floor would open up for Kris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to move as they please without the threat of double teams. Those double teams happen when the Bucks, namely Antetokounmpo, aren't hitting shots from the perimeter.
Antetokounmpo is a challenge for teams when he gets a head of steam and dribbles hard to the rim. Becoming a bona fide 3-point shooter will be something he has to work on, yet with so much desire to learn and emphatically stamp his name on the game, Antetokounmpo should not be overlooked for potentially becoming a shooter the NBA fears.
No. 2: Lead the NBA in scoring, rebounding and blocks
Leading the NBA in scoring, rebounds and blocks sounds like something reserved for the likes of Wilt Chamberlain and a young Walt Bellamy, huh? With all his athletic tools and wise experience, Antetokounmpo is capable of accomplishing this feat. Surely his desire to become a better shooter is tangible, and becoming better at shooting the ball would only augment everything else he does so well.
In 21 games this season, the five-time All-Star is averaging 27.6 points, 11.8 boards, 6.0 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.
It's a lofty ask for anyone who has ever played the game, yet because he can do so many elements on the floor, it would not be totally out of the realm of possibility that Antetokounmpo would accomplish a feat that would cement his name among the greatest to ever play the game.
No. 1: Make the Milwaukee Bucks a dynasty
Some may have put an asterisk next to the Milwaukee Bucks' championship last season. That's because the NBA was still in flux regarding how it managed a shortened season (that started and ended much later on the calendar than usual) in the throes of COVID-19.
Not many could have expected the Bucks to play the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. But the dominating and historic fashion of claiming the NBA title says Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee will defend the NBA title with everything they have.
Mike Budenholzer's team is a galvanized unit that has lost a great post and wing defender in P.J. Tucker, yet still has everything it needs to make another run at becoming the latest back-to-back title winner in the NBA. (The return of center Brook Lopez from back surgery would be a boost.)
By winning consecutive NBA championships, Antetokounmpo would prove last season's championship was no fluke, and put pressure on the NBA to stop the Bucks from reeling off a string of titles.
If anyone is capable of going back to back, it is the Bucks and Antetokounmpo.
Poll : Will Giannis Antetokounmpo become a top 10 NBA performer
The jury is still out.