League Dishes on Point Giannis
Giannis Antetokounmpo has certainly made a splash around the NBA in the last few weeks. Beginning with his first career triple-double against the Lakers on Feb. 22, Antetokounmpo averaged 19.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.6 assists over the ensuing nine-game stretch, including two more triple-doubles on Feb. 29 vs. Houston and March 6 vs. Oklahoma City. In a matter of three weeks, Antetokounmpo has tied the franchise record for triple-doubles in a season and has taken his game to a whole new level.
With his stellar performance on the court, the attention surrounding the 21-year-old is increasing with each impressive stat line he produces.
Here’s a sampling of the word around the league:
Louis Keene - VICE
Running the point against the Wolves, Milwaukee’s supremely stringy 6’11 Greek Freak dunked, dished, Dream-shaked, and spirit-dabbed his way to 27 points, 9 boards, 12 assists and 2 blocks. It’s Antetokounmpo’s third year in the NBA, but he’s barely 21. Giannis’ recent stratospheric spate of performances like this feels premature, but only because players cast in his mold have made us so used to waiting.
Zach Lowe – ESPN Senior Writer
What do you even label a player who defends the opposing center and then runs the offense against the other team’s point guard? A ... freak? [Antetokounmpo] already knows basic point guard reads, and when Jason Kidd wants to keep things simple, he can have Antetokounmpo attack one-on-one. Is a smaller guy on you? Post up! Is the opposing power forward on you, as often happens when Kidd removes Parker and pairs Antetokounmpo with just one big man? Then catch the ball at the elbow and blow by that sucker!
Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder forward
I think Giannis, once he starts knocking down that jumper consistently, is going to be a problem. I hope he doesn’t get it anytime soon. He’s already a problem now. Once he starts knocking that jumper down it’s going to be amazing to watch.
Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers guard
He has the potential to [be a great player]. He has the physical tools. The intelligence. Now it’s just a matter of him believing in himself and going after it. But he has the talent to be a great player.
Jerryd Bayless – Milwaukee Bucks guard
He has the intangibles you can’t teach. Him being as big as he is, the things he can do nobody else can really do. He has a chance to be really special.
Fred Hoiberg – Chicago Bulls head coach
He’s just so long and his ability to get to the rim in a short amount of steps coming down the floor is very difficult to guard. He’s already a great player, but he’s truly one of the young superstars in this league and he’s going to be a load for a long time.
The buzz around Giannis and the Bucks will hopefully continue as the team progresses and shows promise on the court. But regardless, Antetokounmpo has captivated an entire league as we are just beginning to see the Greek Freak reach his potential.
Written by Eric Kohlbeck for tonight's Game Program