During the past two NBA seasons, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been one of the best basketball players on the planet, and the Milwaukee Bucks have been one of the best teams in the league. However, the Bucks have also underperformed in the playoffs, which have led to a ton of questions about Antetokounmpo’s future. Antetokounmpo has ultimately been questioned about his future many times, but with one of his most recent answers, he gave the Bucks a simple ultimatum.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has become one of the most dominant players in the NBA
Antetokounmpo went to the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, and he went there with a bunch of raw talent that would need to be developed. He has ultimately developed into one of the best players in the league, though.
After averaging 6.8 points per game and 4.4 rebounds in his rookie season, and then 12.7 points per game to go with 6.7 rebounds in 2014-15, he took a nice step production-wise in 2015-16. Antetokounmpo ultimately averaged 16.9 points per game and 7.7 rebounds that season, proving to be an excellent player.
The 2016-17 season, though, was when he really became a star, as his 22.9 points-per-game average to go with his 8.8 rebounds per game and 5.4 assists helped him earn his first All-Star selection. Antetokounmpo then had another excellent year in 2017-18, averaging 26.9 points per game, 10 rebounds, and 4.8 assists, but he then became arguably the best player in the NBA the season after that.
During the 2018-19 season, Antetokounmpo earned the league MVP award, averaging 27.7 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. He helped the Bucks clinch the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, too, with a 60-22 record.
Antetokounmpo then continued to dominate the league in 2019-20 with 29.5 points per game, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. The Bucks ultimately went 56-17, too, which helped them claim the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference again. Antetokounmpo also earned his second consecutive MVP award last season.
The Milwaukee Bucks have underperformed in the playoffs
With his play and with his messages off the court, Antetokounmpo has made it clear that he just wants to win. The Bucks have done a great job of winning in the regular season, but they have underperformed in the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
During the 2018-19 season, the Bucks did, at least, go all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. They even took a 2-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors. However, the Raptors came back and defeated them in six games.
The Bucks were, again, the No. 1 seed during the 2019-20 season, but they fell even shorter of their goal of winning a championship. Milwaukee reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals this past season, but the Miami Heat shockingly upset them in five games. The Heat went on to go to the NBA Finals and took the LA Lakers to six games, though.
The Bucks’ failure to get to the top has led to many questions about Antetokounmpo’s future. He has one year left on his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo gives the Milwaukee Bucks an ultimatum
As mentioned above, Antetokounmpo has made it clear that he wants to win. This has led to him giving the Bucks an ultimatum during a recent interview.
According to CBS Sports, Antetokounmpo recently did an interview with a Swedish outlet, Aftonbladet, and he said this when he received a question about his future.
“I do not see why I could not be in Milwaukee for several years,” Antetokounmpo said, according to CBS Sports. “As long as Milwaukee and I are on the same page when it comes to being one of the best teams in the league and winning championships, that’s fine. When it changes, it will not be good. It’s easy, I want to be a winner. I do not care about the money. My family is fine and I can take care of my children and grandchildren so that’s not the most important thing right now, it’s winning. As long as we can win and create a winning culture, it will be good.”
The reporter at the media outlet then asked if he planned to stay in Milwaukee next offseason. Antetokounmpo then said this.
“I do not know what the plan is. It depends on what decisions they make. If they make the right decision, I’ll be there for many years. If they do not, we’ll see. The NBA is business and we take it day by day. Hopefully we can succeed together.”
That is a pretty clear message to the Bucks: make moves to help Antetokounmpo win championships, or he could be gone. We’ll see if they can get it done.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference