Opinion: Giannis is here to save the NBA


Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo tries to drive past Houston Rockets’ James Harden during the second half on March 7, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Sean Blevins

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is well on his way to becoming the face of the NBA and he is two wins away from clinching his first Finals appearance.

The “Greek Freak” is just getting started. He is only 24. These playoffs are the first real taste of his dominance; what we are witnessing is merely the appetizer.

I believe that Giannis and the Bucks are good enough to beat the Warriors, but they still have to get past Toronto. This upcoming Finals has the potential to be one of the best ever and I think it will be a hard-fought seven game series, if it is Bucks-Warriors. I think Golden State would sweep Toronto.  

The Bucks arguably have the deepest team in the NBA, which could prove to be the “X-factor” in the Finals. Their front office has done an amazing job surrounding Giannis with elite, versatile sharpshooters that can defend multiple positions, and that is largely what has propelled their dominant playoff run.

Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer needs to be recognized as a top-tier coach –– he is one of the best, if not the best at making adjustments after the first half –– something he perfected during his 17-year tenure as an assistant under legendary Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

The Bucks and the Warriors have both fully utilized the third quarter this postseason as their time to execute crucial runs to put games out of reach or comeback from double-digit leads. There are less than a handful of coaches that can impact games as much as the league’s top players with their mid-game adjustments and Budenholzer is certainly one of them.

Giannis is already virtually unstoppable and he is still a couple of years away from the absolute peak of his athletic prime. One can only imagine how much better Antetokounmpo could be if he was able to knockdown three-pointers at a more consistent rate. His level of dominance is Lebron-esque, even when he has a bad game for his standards, it is still a better game than almost the entirety of the NBA.

He shot 25.6% from three this season and has a career mark of 27.7%. He is gradually becoming a better shooter by the day and he is becoming far more comfortable from long range, as he attempted a career-high 2.8 three-point attempts per game. One of my favorite things about him is that he always finds a way to contribute positively on both ends even if his shot is not falling.

Antetokounmpo is likely the front-runner for the MVP award, but personally I think Rockets guard James Harden is more deserving. I would be more satisfied if the NBA declared them co-MVP’s, but that has never happened before. The statistical edge is very close, but it probably goes to Harden. However, voters traditionally value winning over stats, and Giannis checks that box.

The Bucks played the best out of everyone in the regular season and they have continued that dominance so far in the playoffs. It will take everything they have to take down the most hated dynasty of all-time. Giannis has a tall task ahead of him, but I am confident he has what it takes to take Milwaukee to the promised land.