This is the 3rd edition in a weekly Bucks series by Alexander Juneau. Today I will be breaking down just how good Giannis has been this season.
Giannis has not been just good this year, he has been one of the best players in the NBA. He is the main reason the Bucks are winning basketball games.
Whispers… The second best player in the East thus far in the young season is Giannis Antetokounmpo.
— Josh Eberley 🇨🇦 (@JoshEberley) November 7, 2016
Giannis has been one of the best players in basketball this season. He is averaging 21/8/6 on a 57% true shooting percentage, that has only been done ten times in NBA history. 4x by Larry Bird, 2x by Oscar Robertson, 1x by Lebron James, 1x by Wilt Chamberlin, 1x by Magic Johnson, and 1x by Michael Jordan. That is some pretty elite company Giannis is putting himself in. He outplayed Paul George (a consensus top 15 player) in their match-up last week.
He provides just about everything the Bucks could ask for from a player, he defends, passes, initiates, creates, attacks the rim, gets to the free throw line, and rebounds. The jumper is still a work in progress, but he has made strides to improve himself in every other facet of his game.
The Bucks are immensely better with Giannis on the floor compared to when he sits, they are +18 points per 100 possessions with him on compared to when he sits. To be fair a lot of this stems from how bad the rest of the team is, especially the bench. He makes his teammates better, his assist rate is up and his turnover rate is down. His usage rate has skyrocketed up to 28.7% from 22.3%, he is being used more on and off ball. Essentially Giannis has been asked to shoulder the team and has managed to do so at a fairly elite level.
This all raises two questions:
1.) Will it translate to wins? So far the Bucks have been better than expected, but according to strength of schedule they have played the 28th toughest schedule. Time will tell, if the Bucks exceed expectations I think it will be on the back of Giannis.
2.) Will he be an All-Star? The Bucks have not had an All-Star since 2004, this is the year that streak ends. Giannis will be Milwaukee’s first all star in over a decade.
-Rashad Vaughn is off to a promising start in his sophomore season doubling his PER, shooting well from three and making solid defensive rotations. Vaughn is still very young for the NBA, but the fact that he has shown some promise is relieving for Bucks fans everywhere.
-The schedule gets brutal quick, five of the Bucks next eight are against teams with winning records including a game against each of last years finals teams. Last year’s team struggled mightily on the road, if the playoffs will be a possibility they will need to be closer to .500 on the road.
-NCAA basketball season starts tomorrow, since I heavily anticipate getting a top 16 pick I expect this season will be intriguing for Bucks fans. Moreso than prior years there is actually deep talent at the guard positions.
-Jabari Parker is off to a sizzling start this year with his stats up across the board, the defensive end of the ball still needs work, but the progress is promising nonetheless. The Bucks are actually 1.1 points per 100 possessions worse with Jabari on the court, but that is down from last years 4.2, progress is progress. Perhaps most importantly he is taking and making threes something the Bucks need him to do going forward.
-Malcolm Brogdon is making a name for himself at backup point guard, providing a steady presence for the Bucks on both ends. He likely will never be a flashy player, but his play making for the second unit has been integral for the Bucks success this year. With Brogdon on the court the Bucks are 7.4 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents. For a second round rookie that is pretty good value.