With new look opponents in the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, will the Milwaukee Bucks remain a threat to win the NBA championship? Reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will have a target on his back from all challengers in the conference.
In our eyes, there is really one thing standing between the Bucks and a shot at an NBA title. Today we will go over what Giannis needs to improve and how it will help Milwaukee get through the long NBA season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP season
Last season was a coming out for the Greek Freak. He put up absurd numbers while leading the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 27 points and 12 rebounds per game, and Milwaukee won 60 games.
All season long it looked like no one had an answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, and if it wasn’t for James Harden lighting up scoreboards in January and February the MVP race wouldn’t have been as close as it was.
With the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Bucks looked like they were going to breeze through the conference. After falling behind 0-1 in the second round against the Celtics, Giannis turned his play up a notch and the Bucks would go on to win the next four in the series.
A matchup against the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors was next, and although they got up to an early 2-0 lead, the Raptors defensive schemes became too much for Milwaukee, and they lost in six games.
How Giannis Antetokounmpo is becoming a better leader
After the Bucks lost out on a trip to the NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo had a tough time getting over the loss. This is understandable as it looked like Milwaukee was the most talented team in the conference on paper.
One thing Giannis focused on this offseason was becoming a better leader. Speaking to the Associated Press, Giannis said:
“Mostly, you just gotta be more vocal…You gotta lead by example. You gotta be able to accept criticism by your coach, by your teammates, and be OK with it. That’s what a leader does. I know that my team knows who I am. They trust me. They know I’m going to put my body and everything I have on the line for this team. By doing that, everything else will take care of itself.”
Is leadership the key to a championship?
Having a strong leadership presence is an NBA locker room is normally the difference between a successful season and a dysfunctional one. Let’s take a look at two franchises on different ends of the spectrum, the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs. The Phoenix Suns have been the laughingstock of the league for the better part of the 2010s, and it starts at the top.
An unorganized mess in the front office, along with an owner who micromanages everything the team does, has led to chemistry issues in the locker room. Multiple coaching staffs have been turned over the last three seasons, which has stunted the development of Devin Booker and last year’s No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton.
If a strong veteran presence was brought into the locker room, it could do wonders for the franchise, but there aren’t many veterans looking to grab a lot of cash to be a mentor on a losing team.
The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the most consistent franchises in NBA history. Gregg Popovich has drafted leaders such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, and the team’s culture isn’t rattled by newcomers young and old.
This is why we think Giannis taking on more duties as a leader will feed the urgency of the other 14 players on the roster and propel them to a potential championship.