What a season for Giannis. Lead the Bucks to the best record in the NBA, selected to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team, which should and will include the MVP award at the end of the season. Unfortunately, Giannis was not happy how the season ended and no one can blame him, but the 24-year-old competitiveness is second to none in the league and it’s scary to think Giannis is still going to get better.
"Giannis is a star on the way to being a superstar. This is growing pains. This is what LeBron went through when Detroit beat him up & Tim Duncan got him in the Finals. This is what Kawhi went through when LeBron got him in the Finals. He'll be better for this." — @Matt_Barnes22 pic.twitter.com/8DRo2ZMJ2S
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) May 26, 2019
Highlights: The whole season
Hello, he’s the MVP! Giannis played great basketball from the first game to the last game. Giannis averaged a double-double with 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds. Giannis was a good passer as well with 5.9 assists and his defense was stellar at 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks. Then, from the field (mostly) in the paint, he improved from 52.9% last year to 57.85 this year. Again, it’s scary to see how well he did this year and he’s still going to improve
Lowlights: Kawhi Leonard
Here’s the thing: Giannis had a good Eastern Conference Finals. He averaged 22.7 points, 13 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.7 blocks, but his shooting percentages really struggled, especially against Kawhi Leonard. In game 3, 4 and 5 (the games where Kawhi was the primary defender) Giannis scored 18 points and shot a whopping 32% from the field. Giannis also didn’t pass as well as he gained four assists but five turnovers. We praise Giannis for being strong in the paint since he shoots 72.6% from less than five feet, but he needs to develop a shot. From five to nine feet away, Giannis shoots 30.7%, 10-14 feet is 41.8%, 15-19 feet is 40%, 20-24 feet is 26.8% and 25-29 feet is 25.7%. Leonard exposed that in the Conference Finals and it worked.
Even with the lack of shooting, Giannis was by far the best player on the team and in the league. He has the stats and accolades to prove it. The Bucks have something special in Giannis and many think he’s a living cheat code. Well, imagine if Giannis can develop a consistent mid-range or three-point shot, it opens the door and Giannis will see multiple MVP’s and many trips to the conference finals and perhaps some hardware in the NBA Finals.
Role next season: Antetokounmpo with the shot
Last year Giannis wanted to get bigger and stronger, and it worked. Giannis knows he struggled with shooting the ball, so I believe Giannis will develop a respectable jump shot. Nothing too crazy like Kevin Durant’s or Kawhi Leonard’s jump shot. I don’t see Giannis shooting below 30% like this year. I think Giannis will get back to above 30% and finish close to 32%. It’s a big jump, but I do think it’s achievable. Giannis doesn’t need to shoot the lights out, he just needs to shoot good enough to get respect. Giannis works harder than any player in the league, so I don’t doubt he can get it done.