Friday, 10 March 2017

Is the Greak Freak the Future?

If I were to ask you to name the three best players in the NBA right now, who would you name? My bet is that your list would probably include names like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, or even Stephen Curry. But what about the league’s next superstar?

Five years from now, all of the players mentioned above will be over 30 years old, with Lebron leading the pack at 37. The landscape of the NBA will be much different, and the best basketball player on the planet may very well have a name that you can’t even pronounce: Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Dubbed the ‘Greak Freak’, Giannis is one of the league’s young stars, and at the age of 22 is looking to cement himself as one of the NBA’s elite forwards. Over the past four years, Giannis has gradually ascended from an unknown prospect to a household name. With a wingspan of 7’4 and a height of 6’11, combined with his surprising agility and fluid playstyle, Antetekounmpo is able to legitimately play all five positions on the court. Whether tasked with bringing the ball up the court or holding down center for a few minutes, one thing is for certain: there is no one like him in the NBA.

His current statline reads 23.3ppg, 5.5apg, and 8.7rpg, and is a testiment to his ability to contribute on all areas of the floor. While typically not known for his shooting, Giannis’ field goal percentage has increased from 41% in 2014 to 53% this season. As well, Antetokounmpo’s size helps him to get roughly 2 blocks a game and 1.7 steals. With those kinds of stats, players and fans are both starting to recognize how good of a player Giannis can be.

In Kobe Bryant’s last game against the Bucks in 2016, he had some high praise for the forward, saying,

"He has the potential to do it. He has the physical tools, the intelligence. Now it's just a matter of believing in himself and going after it. He has the talent to be a great player.” That was before this season, where it seems like Antetekounmpo has taken Bryant’s advice to heart.

The Bucks would be wise to build around Giannis have him as their corner piece guy, similar to how Lebron carried the Cavs from ‘03-’10. At the moment, the Bucks lack talent, especially after losing Jabari Parker again to a season-ending ACL injury. With no real playmakers (Dellevadova has been awfully disappointing this year), it is surprising to see the Bucks in playoff contention. They are currently a ½ game behind Chicago for the East’s 8th seed, and it’ll be interesting to see how the end of the season plays out.

If the Bucks are able to add a few pieces in the summer, they may end up being a contender in the next few years. While that is not guaranteed, what’s certain is that Giannis Antetekounmpo will be one of the league’s best players, if not the best.

Will the Greak Freak be an MVP in the next 5 years? Let me know in the comments section below!

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