Gilbert Arenas: Giannis Antetokounmpo Is a ‘Whole Different Player’ If ‘Given Tim Duncan’s Knowledge’
Giannis Antetokounmpo has established himself as one of the top players in the NBA since winning the Most Improved Player winner in 2017. He’s now a back-to-back MVP, a DPOY, and a Finals MVP after winning his first championship in 2021.
With a resume like that, the Greek Freak is the epitome of hard work, undergoing a physical transformation that has helped him become, if not a top 3 player, a top 5 player in the League today. He averaged 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game on 55.3 percent shooting from the field and 29.3 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bucks lost in seven games to the eventual ECF champion Boston Celtics this year. During that second-round series against Boston, Antetokounmpo became the first player to post 200/100/50 in a single playoff series. The six-time All-Star finished with 237 points, 103 rebounds, and 50 assists and averaged 31.6 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in the 12 playoff games he played.
However, despite everything the six-time All-NBA selection has accomplished since being drafted 15th in the 2013 draft, one former superstar believes Giannis Antetokounmpo has a lot to learn.
The Giannis disrespect is WILD.— Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) August 26, 2022
And he’ll just keep making them look like idiots. pic.twitter.com/JJEBGRGejP
Last week, Gilbert Arenas stated on his podcast that Antetokounmpo “doesn’t really understand how to be great,” reiterating in a later post that while Antetokounmpo has become “stronger on his rim runs and wiser,” he still has to improve his jump shot and passing. Overall, Arenas believes Antetokounmpo has “the same flaws he walked into the game with.”
“Give him Tim Duncan’s knowledge, a whole different player isn’t he?”— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) August 31, 2022
Longtime NBA guard Gilbert Arenas joined @RickKamlaSports & @adaniels33 to clarify his comments about Giannis.#FearTheDear pic.twitter.com/G6it9PsDoG
Although Arenas has a point that Antetokounmpo does rely on his unguardable physical tools, to say he hasn’t improved his jump shot is misleading. He’s a 41.5 percent shooter from midrange, better than LeBron James (41.5 percent), Kyrie Irving (39.2 percent), Jimmy Butler(37.8 percent), and Jayson Tatum (37.0 percent). He’s also hovered around 30 percent as a long-distance shooter since 2017-18.
By the raw numbers, The Greek Freak has averaged better than five assists per game for five of the last six seasons. By advanced stats, Antetokounmpo earned a 30.4 assist percentage and owned a 1.77 assists/turnover split while carrying a 34.0 percent usage rating.
Regardless, the Bucks and Antetokounmpo are entering 2022-23 a season of winning the 2021 title. If they can remain healthy when it matters the most, the Bucks should reemerged as a 2023 NBA title contender.