Giannis Antetokounmpo, from most doubted player to most dominant player in recent NBA history

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis, after long hard 8 years in the NBA finally won an NBA championship with the team he was drafted with, lets take a look at his journey.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, an NBA player from Greece, the last name so hard to pronounce and write is now an NBA champion. He has struggled his way to a championship, player from a small country is now wildly regarded as the best player in the NBA who has finally dethroned the King LeBron James, Giannis was given the name of SUPERMAN by the previous name holder Shaquille O’nile himself. Giannis has now marked himself as the most dominant force we have ever seen since Shaq.

He is just 26 years old and his resume is so rich that even if he retired today he will a first-ballot Hall of Famer and regarded as one of the greatest Power Forward to ever live. He was drafted by Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, round 1, 13th pick. He has supreme physical gifts, he is listed as 6’11 Ft. with a wingspan of 7’3 ft and has the 3rd biggest hands in the NBA history with 12 inches. He won the most improved player in 2017, he is a one time champion, one-time Finals MVP, 2 times regular-season MVP, one time Defensive player of the Year, 5 times all NBA team, 5 times all-defensive team, 5 times all-star, and one time Kobe All-star game MVP.

NBA MVP 2020: Giannis Antetokounmpo has won his second MVP award, beats LeBron James to it - The SportsRush
Giannis MVP 2020 | image courtesy- TheSportsRush

 

Giannis has been dominating the league since his 4th year, he won the most improved player in 2017 and since then Giannis has owned the regular season with his out-of-the-world stats on both ends. His performance made him earn 2019 and 2020 MVP of the regular season and DPOY in the year 2020, only Michael Jordan and Hakeem Aulujwan are the players to win both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

In the last three years, he has averaged 27.6 points per game, 12.2 boards, 5.6 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal per game. He did all this while maintaining an elite level of efficiency from the floor shooting 64% but Giannis has always been known for his abysmal shooting, it is his Achilles heel, he shot just 27% from the arc and 68% from the free-throw line.

In 2018/19 Giannis was everyone’s favourite option to come out of the east as finally LeBron signed with the Lakers and east was finally wide open for anyone to grab, the successor to the King failed miserably in playoffs after a great successful regular season. He was knocked out by the Kwahi’s Raptors in 6 games, the main story was the Bucks were leading in the series by 2-0 but “THE WALL” was created by Nick Nurse and the Raptors. It was strategy was to sag off of Giannis and make him shoot the open jumpers rather than letting him drive to the basket, but whenever he tried to force his will down the lane he was bombarded by bodies of two 7 footer Marc Gasol and Ibaka, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and Giannis had no answer to the wall and after leading the series 2-0 Bucks lost by 2-4. Giannis averaged a below-average 22.6 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.

After a disappointing loss in the 2019 playoffs, 2 times MVP had something to prove, in the bubble in the first go-round against Orlando Giannis looked like a man on a mission. He dominated the 8th seed Orlando with three 30+ points games and gentlemen swept the Magic. Now came the second round, this might be Giannis’s lowest point in his career, he lost to the 5th seed Miami Heat led by coach Erik Spoelstra and Jimmy Butler. The Heats won by 4-1 and won three straight games against the Bucks, Giannis was once again in his career met with the “THE WALL”, he challenged by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo at every drive and his shooting only led to more disappointment. He averaged an abysmal 21.7 points, 11 rebounds in 4 games and was ruled in the 5th game due to injury.

NBA Playoffs 2020: After coming up short in 2019, Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a mission | NBA.com India | The official site of the NBA
Giannis in the bubble | image courtesy- in.nba.com

After so many failures in his NBA career, Bucks improved the team by trading pieces for a defensively tenacious guard Jrue Holiday and a tough veteran sharpshooter presence of PJ Tucker. The bucks instilled a new defensive system and made Giannis play more back to the basket so that wall is ineffective. The bucks were no. 3 seed in the league and was set to rematch against the Heats, the new trio of Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday was too much for the heats as they got swept losing 4 straight games to the Bucks. Coach Bud and the Bucks went on to play the newly formed Brooklyn Nets, one of the greatest offensive firepower teams in the history of the NBA, the superteam of Kyrie, Harden, and Kevin Durant. Luckily for the Bucks Harden pulled his hamstring in game 1 literally in the first few seconds but Kyrie and KD were able to pull through and get a lead of 2-0, but unfortunately for the Nets, Kyrie went down in the 3rd game and sprained his ankle, from that point on it was KD and Gianni’s show,  Bucks came back in the series by equaling 2-2 with Giannis scoring 33 and 34 points in game 3 and 4 respectively, KD’s historic performance (must watch the game) of 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists gave the Nets a 3-2 lead but then with Middleton’s 38 points and Gianni’s 30 was enough for the Bucks to equalize the series to 3-3. Game 7, winner takes it all, with a thrilling game going to overtime Giannis came up clutch and went for 40 points and 13 boards and a jump hook in the OT with a minute left, helped the Bucks to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the conference finals, they were up against Trae’s Hawks and prevailed in 6 games even without Giannis playing games 5 and 6 after hyperextending his knees in game 4.

At Milwaukee's most vulnerable moment, Bucks finally break through | NBA.com
Giannis and Middleton holding Eastern Conference finals trophy | image courtesy- nba.com

Giannis gave us one of the most dominating performances in the finals, it was so dominant that the numbers were similar to Shaq’s numbers in the 2000s finals. Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 6 games in the NBA Finals. Giannis who was reported to sit out in the first game due to injury in the Hawk’s series played but lost both the games with CP3 dropping 32 in game 1 and D. Book stepping up his game with 31 points in game 2. Giannis in game 2 scored 42 points but was not enough to win the game. Game 3 overshadowed everyone in the finals, he scored 41 POINTS he joined the list of Lebron James, Michael Jordan to score 40 points in back-to-back games, and blew out the Suns in game 3 120-100. Devin Booker tried everything in his hand even he went for back to back 40 points games but Khris Middleton equalized it by scoring 40 points too in game 4 to get the win. With Bucks leading in the series with a win in game 5 with a clutch super athletic dunk by the Greek Freak, sealed the game with a win.

NBA Finals: Bucks rule Game 5
Giannis clutch dunk in game 5 | image courtesy- Panay News

 

 

Giannis gave the greatest closeout game in the history of the NBA, he scored 50 points and grabbed 14 boards in the closeout game against the Phoenix Suns, and Gianni is known for the dreadful free throw he averaged almost 60% of free throw in the playoffs but in game 6 he went 17 of 19 free throws, he lived past his fear and took the Suns by himself in game 6 and won the NBA finals and finals MVP.

With Giannis giving us so many memorable moments like the block and dunk in game 5 and scoring 50 points in game 6 with back to back 40 points in games 2 and 3 has now made him THE BESt PLAYER IN THE NBA.

NBA: Antetokounmpo caps extraordinary postseason as Finals MVP | Marca
image courtesy- marca

 

 

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