Could the NBA’s reigning MVP get even better? Giannis Antetokounmpo took his offensive game to new heights in Mike Budenholzer’s five-out system (all five players are positioned outside of the three-point line. Antetokounmpo averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds while leading Milwaukee to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
However, one aspect of his game has a glaring weakness: his lack of an outside jump shot. For years, we’ve seen Ben Simmons criticized for not taking perimeter shots, and Antetokounmpo hasn’t been good at it, either. This could change, however. The 24-year-old has a new strategy. Here’s what you can expect from Antetokounmpo in 2019-20.
Giannis Antetokounmpo comments on his game
In a video on the Milwaukee Bucks’ Twitter account, Antetokounmpo discussed improving his game: “There’s a lot of people out there that said, ‘Oh, if Giannis don’t add the 3 he’s not gonna be one of the best players in the league.’ I just won the MVP … I can still win the championship not shooting the 3, but I want to shoot the 3. I shot the 3 a little bit better this year, as the season went along I was getting better.”
Speaking in a matter-of-fact way, he makes a point. Antetokounmpo won the MVP and established himself as one of the best in the NBA, so adding it to his game will only make it that much harder to stop him. The “Greek Freak” went on to say, “Shooting the 3 is gonna make it a lot easier for my game and a lot easier for my teammates, so I gotta add that element.”
Is Antetokounmpo really that bad of a shooter?
Due to his length and athleticism, Antetokounmpo’s production comes from his ability to get to the hoop. Last year, he shot just 25.6% from three-point range. But at the turn of the calendar year, those numbers jumped up to 32%.
Shooting 32% or better from beyond the arc would make it nearly impossible to stop Giannis. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Raptors sent multiple looks at Giannis that forced him to either shoot from the outside or give the ball up early. Improving his perimeter game will make this strategy less effective when a championship is on the line.
Antetokounmpo’s advanced stats
Breaking his game down even further, Antetokounmpo’s advanced stats show that the perception he’s a bad shooter isn’t necessarily warranted. At just 24 years old, Giannis has become a more efficient scorer. He shot 38% from the field on shots between 10 and 16 feet, while attempting five percent of his shots from that range.
The dreaded spots between 16 feet and the three-point line were also very good to Giannis. He attempted six percent of his shots from that range and drained 41% of them. This is why seeing his drop-off in three-point percentage is so startling. If he can improve his corner threes (22%) we could be looking at an unstoppable weapon on the basketball court.
Do you think Antetokounmpo can improve his outside game?
Will we see Giannis Antetokounmpo make strides in his perimeter game? If he can get his three-point shot percentage above 30% we could be looking at the most efficient offensive weapon in the NBA. For more news and notes from around the Association, check out our NBA section.