THE numbers speak for themselves. The hype is real. Entering the season as one of the MVP favourites Giannis Antetokounmpo has started off the season with video game-like numbers and as a result, he is single-handedly defying what we thought was possible from a basketballer. His Achilles heel still remains his jump shot and his ability to hit the deep ball. Yet, that hasn’t hampered his play in the early going as he leads the league in scoring and is doing so with ease. Which begs the question, why does Antetokounmpo even need a jump shot?
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SINCE entering the league in 2013 as a whole bunch of arms and hands Antetokunmpo has transformed into a composed, dynamic threat on both sides of the ball. He is able to put those arms and hands to use to reach the rim with ridiculous ease. Play off of him on the perimeter and he will barrel straight through or around you. Closeout on him and he put the ball on the floor and probably put you on a poster. Send two or three guys his way and he will unselfishly find the open guy and make you pay.
YOU can visually see the dominance that he has on the floor and in a league orientated around teams trying to get smaller. Everyone wants to channel their inner J.R Smith hoisting three’s up without caution. With the skill set that the 22-year old Greek has at his disposal, the Bucks have gone another route though. They have surrounded him with length and decent shooters for success, allowing them to hide his jump shot and let him play to his glaringly dominant strengths.
MILWAUKEE is scoring the third most points in the paint a night out of all 30 teams and a large part of that is due to Giannis’ play. He takes over 50% of his shot inside of three feet and makes an insane 80 of such shots. In fact, part of the reason Antetkounmpo is playing so well early on can be attributed to how close to the rim he is taking his shots. Here’s a quick seasonal breakdown of the just how many of Giannis’ shots came from a distance of 16 feet or further.
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IT’S no accident that the Greek Freak is filling up the box score based on how easy he can get to the rim and how high a percentage he shoots once he gets there. Sure, if he could add a three-point shot it would be a nice luxury, but it’s clear that he doesn’t need it to succeed in the league. The way he can use his god given physical tools to create angles and possibilities that we didn’t think were achievable already make him a nightmare matchup. Imagine if he added a nice little jumper to his repertoire? Shit.
EVEN though it’s a small sample size here’s an interesting stat. Giannis is shooting a better percentage from behind the arc than LeBron did at the age of 22. That’s right, we have to remember that Antetokounmpo is still quite a young Buck (pun intended). He could still develop into a decent shooter and in recent years that’s something we have seen LeBron do. We can see that Giannis’ offensive game has expanded with a nice little Dirk-like post up fade in his arsenal now. Plus he has a soft little floater/runner at his disposal to further worry defenders.
Image from clutchpoints.com
In an era where teams are obsessed with the three-point shot, the Bucks clearly have a cheat code on their hands. Milwaukee’s front office has built the supporting cast to help their go-go gadget franchise star thrive. Regardless of if he develops a jumper down the line he’s to be doing just fine right now.
IF it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
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