Defending NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was in the midst of another MVP-caliber season when the sports world came to a sudden halt in March. Since that time, sports fans have wondered how all NBA players managed to maintain their high-level conditioning and sharpness during the hiatus with little to no access to gyms and workout equipment.
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols posted a video of Antetokounmpo working out in Orlando in the NBA bubble and it revealed the reigning MVP is not only in good shape, he’s added another long-range weapon to his arsenal, and looks more than ready to challenge LeBron James and company for the MVP and NBA title.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is best in NBA during 2018-19 season
Since arriving in the NBA in 2013-14, Giannis Antetokounmpo has made consistent improvements with his game each season. After a rookie season, in which he made the All-Rookie team and averaged 6.8 points per game, The Greek Freak’s offensive game has improved dramatically.
In 2017-18, he had his best season to date where he averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 assists, and hauled in 10 rebounds per contest. Last year, Antetokounmpo’s all-around game, remarkably, got even better.
He averaged 27.7 points, 5.9 assists, and grabbed a stellar 12.5 rebounds per game. More impressively, he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, with 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks per contest. For his efforts, Antetokounmpo earned his third consecutive All-Star appearance and received the prestigious MVP edging out Houston’s James Harden.
Antetokounmpo on pace for best season when pandemic struck
This season Giannis Antetokounmpo sent a message to the rest of the league on opening night when he recorded a triple-double against Harden and the Rockets scoring 30 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists.
Antetokounmpo’s impressive all-around numbers have continued throughout the season. For the year, he has averaged 29.6 points per game and 13.7 rebounds, but more importantly, has led the Milwaukee Bucks to a 53-12 record.
Among the many season highlights: he scored 50 in a win over the Utah Jazz, and in February, Antetokounmpo completed a stretch of five consecutive games where he scored 30-plus points and grabbed 15-plus rebounds, and became the first player to accomplish that feat since the 1985-86 NBA season.
As if his all-around game wasn’t scary enough, he had a career-best game from long range against the Lakers in December draining five threes. For the season, he’s had his best year behind the arc scoring 1.5 three-pointers per game with an average just over 30 percent.
Giannis Antetokounmpo adding three-ball as a weapon in return
With the return of the NBA scheduled to resume on July 30, Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee teammates have been in Orlando practicing, along with the rest of the NBA teams. ESPN’s Rachel Nichols posted a video of Antetokounmpo from a recent workout, and the big man has evidently been working on his outside game.
“So here’s what Giannis was doing at practice today,” Nichols wrote, with a pair of wide eyes.
In three different clips, Giannis Antetokounmpo receives a pass, makes a couple of penetrating dribbles, then steps back and converts the three. He hits three-pointers repeatedly from each corner and the top of the key. While there’s no way to be sure how much the Bucks will implement Antetokoumpo’s outside shot into their overall game plan at the restart, just the fact that he’s added that to his arsenal adds another element opposing teams have to consider when defending him. That could spell trouble for all of the other teams and ultimately lead to a repeat MVP and possibly an NBA title.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.