Over the last few seasons, Giannis Antetokounmpo has emerged as one of the league’s top players. That has seen him guide the Milwaukee Bucks into becoming a powerhouse with strong aspirations to compete for an NBA title. With the NBA set to restart the 2019-20 season, the Bucks are pinned as one of the favorites to secure this year’s title. However, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen isn’t of the firm belief that Antetokounmpo is ready to guide his team to a championship.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s strong 2019-2020 season
Coming off his first MVP award, Giannis Antetokounmpo has continued to take strides in his game this season.
Antetokounmpo has put forth a campaign that will likely earn second straight MVP honors. He’s been the Bucks’ guiding force on both ends of the court while pushing them to the top mark in the league. Antetokounmpo is third with 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds while shooting 54.7% from the floor. His play speaks for itself as he’s firmly established himself as an elite talent.
The next step of the equation pushes the conversation toward his ability to guide the Bucks to an NBA title, and one Hall of Famer doubts that he can.
Scottie Pippen doubts Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Bucks are positioned well to make a deep run in the playoffs toward an NBA title due to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s stellar play.
However, not everyone believes that the reigning league MVP can guide the Bucks to an NBA title. Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen voiced on the on Da Windy City Podcast with FanSided’s Mark Carma that he isn’t convinced Antetokounmpo has what it takes to guide his team to a championship.
“No, not yet, I don’t think so. But I haven’t seen him for a while and from what I hear, he’s been working on his jump shot. But I don’t think so. In terms of where they left off, I don’t think he’s really got it there yet. When you talk about winning a title, when you talk about playing in the NBA Finals, when you talk about making big shots with seconds on the clock and being able to take those shots with confidence, I just don’t see him being ready right now for that.
“I know that he’s made some great strides. He is still one of the top players in the game, but in terms of his outside play, he’s not ready to carry his team to a title.”
It isn’t a shot at Antetokounmpo’s ability, but more so that he hasn’t proven it in the playoffs yet. There haven’t been significant postseason moments where he has had to be the difference-maker, especially late in games. There is certainly room for growth in his game with his outside shooting touch, but he has a chance to showcase he can win be the guiding force of an NBA title-winning team.
Chance to break through the mold
The table is set for Giannis Antetokounmpo to continue to prove the doubters wrong this season.
The Bucks are the heavy favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference. They will have their challenges in the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat. Milwaukee possesses a deep that is much more than Antetokounmpo’s strong play leading the charge. It’s an opportunity for them to step in the limelight to make a serious run toward an NBA title.
Antetokounmpo will have to play a significant factor, especially in crunch time moments, if he wants to take that next step forward.