There will never be another Larry Bird they said until Dirk Nowitzki came along and displayed a similar skill set. There would never be another Oscar Robertson until Russell Westbrook began to realize how great he can be. What about Julius Irving, Shaquille O’Neal or Kevin Garnett? My answer to those names is Andre Drummond, Michael Jordan, and Anthony Davis.
The Jordan question was answered years ago with the dominance of Kobe Bryant. But has anyone thought what happens when LeBron James decides to end his career? Will we ever see another player with that type of skill set?
We may not have to wait that long. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is well on his way as he heads into his sixth season in the NBA. His first two were more of him getting a feel for the game and his team. By the middle of his third, his place was cemented as one of the best young talents in the NBA. However, it was year 4 and 5 that provided Giannis the tools needed to be mentioned with the likes of James Harden, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook as an MVP candidate.
Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks are The Real Deal
In 2017-18, Giannis averaged 26.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.8 assists while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor. But what stands out the most from his efforts is that he has led the Milwaukee Bucks to two straight playoff appearances plus participated in the last two All-Star games.
Watching Antetokounmpo now is like watching a young LeBron lead his early Cavaliers’ teams to the 2007 NBA Finals. It was the same skill set for both, and the same youthful exuberance, but will the outcome be the same? As great as LeBron was and is, during those early years he played off pure athleticism, just as Giannis is doing now. Eventually, “The Greek Freak” will need to learn how to pick his spots, rely on teammates and let the game come to him. Once LeBron learned that, he was able to win three championships while playing in eight consecutive Finals.
To dissect his game now would be a bit unfair as he’s still learning. But for Giannis Antetokounmpo to reach that next level, he will need to develop a three-point shot. He’s a career .284 percent shooter but much like James before him, when that comes, no one will be able to defend him. At 23-years old, Giannis is living a dream.
He finished the 2017-18 season tied for fourth in scoring and sixth in MVP voting last season. But what will change this year? For one, while the league has hitched their wagon to Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers as possibly the best player in the Eastern Conference, Antetokounmpo can do something very few players in the league are capable of.
How many players can play all five positions?
The Milwaukee Bucks Have The Best Player In The League
Giannis has played the point. While his three-point shooting would suggest he can’t, he can very well be dynamic at shooting guard. I mean, who can stop him as a small forward? We’ve witnessed what he can do as a power forward already, dating back to last season. But at 6-foot-11, he has the size and mobility to dominate in the paint as a center. No one, not LeBron, Harden, Westbrook or Anthony Davis can stake claim to his ceiling.
The only thing stopping Giannis from taking home the MVP is the Milwaukee Bucks. While they have made the playoffs the last two seasons, Antetokounmpo will need to lead them to more than 50 wins for him to be taken seriously with the Stephen Curry‘s, Harden’s, and other household names in the NBA.
Can it be done? Yes. Will it be done? Yes. There’s just something about watching this kid play that brings back memories of what the NBA used to be like before the showboating and individual success became a standard in the league. His time has come to take his rightful place among the league’s best. 2018-19 will be his defining season. Get ready, Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming for the MVP.