Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo went off against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, leading his team to a 142-133 victory. The Bucks improved to 45-25 on the season and 8-2 over their last 10 games.
However, Antetokounmpo did break NBA rules at the free-throw line, and the Pacers have evidence.
Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 40 points and 15 rebounds against the Pacers
In 35 minutes against the Pacers, Antetokounmpo put up 40 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists while shooting 14-of-18 from the field and 11-of-16 from the free-throw line. It was his 41st double-double of the season and fifth 40-point game.
Antetokounmpo is having another stellar season for the Bucks. Although he won’t win his third consecutive MVP Award, we still shouldn’t overlook his gaudy numbers. The Greek Freak is averaging 28.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 5.9 assists and shooting 57.0% overall and 30.3% from beyond the arc.
A five-time All-Star, Antetokounmpo has improved his jump shot since entering the NBA in 2013. However, he still struggles at the free-throw line, as he’s only shooting 68.9% from the charity stripe this season.
Many pundits believe the 2016-17 Most Improved Player of the Year takes too much time at the free-throw line and gets in his head. Others claim Antetokounmpo is breaking the NBA’s 10-second rule, and the Pacers’ stadium has proof.
Giannis Antetokounmpo took more than 10 seconds to shoot a free-throw against the Pacers
The NBA rulebook states that a player has 10 seconds to shoot a free-throw after receiving the ball from the official. If he takes more than 10 seconds, he is in violation of league rules, and the opponent gets possession.
In the fourth quarter against the Pacers, Antetokounmpo took more than 10 seconds to shoot a free-throw with the Bucks up 125-115. A fan at the game recorded the free-throw while showing the shot clock on the jumbotron.
The NBA must address this. Just because Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the league doesn’t mean he should be able to get away with a clear violation of the rulebook.
During the 2010-11 season, Dwight Howard was called for several 10-second free-throw violations for the Orlando Magic. The NBA can’t pick and choose when they want to enforce the rules. That’s not a good look whatsoever.
The Greek Freak could have a new coach next season
According to the Athletic, if the Bucks don’t go on a deep playoff run this postseason, they could fire head coach Mike Budenholzer. The two-time Coach of the Year has upwards of $7 million remaining on his contract over one season.
The Bucks lost to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals in six games after taking a 2-0 lead. They then fell to the Miami Heat in the 2020 Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Walt Disney World bubble in five games.
When the Bucks were convincing Antetokounmpo to sign his supermax extension, there was a great deal of frustration aimed at Budenholzer that hasn’t been forgotten. With that said, it will be fascinating to see how Milwaukee performs in the 2021 playoffs and if the front office sees enough to bring him back.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.