Tracy McGrady Declares Giannis Antetokounmpo Would’ve ‘Struggled’ in His Era

Giannis Antetokounmpo has earned recognition as a transcedent NBA talent. He has transformed the Milwaukee Bucks into a powerhouse, especially after leading the franchise to capture last year’s championship.

Antetokoumpo has also become one of the faces of the league. His impressive career start still isn’t enough to convince Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady that he could excel in his era.

Giannis Antetokounmpo experiences meteoric rise to NBA stardom

Through his first eight-plus seasons, Antetokounmpo has become one of the game’s best players.

He has gone from a promising raw talent to a dominant two-way factor who led his team to its first championship in 50 years. Antetokounmpo has stacked up an impressive list of individual achievements, such as earning two league MVPs, winning Defensive Player of the Year, and garnering the 2021 Finals MVP.

Despite that, a retired all-time great believes the Bucks star would have struggled if he played in a different era.

Tracy McGrady believes Giannis Antetokounmpo would have struggled in his era

Over the years, former players have commonly voiced strong takes regarding the talent in today’s game.

Tracy McGrady falls into that category, once saying he would “easily” average 35 to 40 points per game if he was playing right now. During a recent interview on The Big Podcast With Shaq, the Hall of Famer stated that he believes Antetokoumpo would have struggled to score if he played in his era.

“I think he would have struggled because of how closed up the paint was,” McGrady said via Ahn Fire Digital. “It was tough offensively because the defense was so great.”

McGrady added that Antetokounmpo’s lack of a consistent outside shot would have worked against him.

“If you can’t shoot, it’s gonna be hard,” McGrady added. “And Giannis’ game is predicated on coming downhill. It would have been tough for him to be who he is today, back then.”

Much of Antetokounmpo’s game is dependent on his inside scoring ability, but he does more than pound the paint. He has become an effective ball-handler while using his athleticism and length to his advantage against opposing big men.

McGrady’s era certainly had its share of prominent big men such as Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, Ben Wallace, Tim Duncan, Alonzo Mourning, and Kevin Garnett. The paint was more congested as the playing style wasn’t as dependent on the three-point shot, leaving the floor not as spaced as it’s become in today’s game.

However, McGrady is discounting Antetokoumpo’s physical ability and skill set that allow him to get to the basket. He’s quicker and more mobile than many big men who played in the late ’90s through the mid-to-late 2000s.

Those factors alone would give him the advantage to consistently work his way into the paint. Antetokounmpo would experience some difficulties playing against those big men, but to say he would flat-out struggle is an exaggeration.

Giannis holds the opportunity to etch out a legendary career

Antetokounmpo is well on his way to becoming, if he already hasn’t, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

The 27-year-old is in the prime of his career with many highly productive campaigns ahead. After earning his first NBA title, he has followed it with another MVP-caliber campaign, averaging a league-best 29.4 points per contest.

Antetokoumpo may add many more individual accolades to his already-stacked resume while moving his way into rarified air. As he ages, he will round his game out to include more outside shooting to keep defenders off balance.

His future is bright, and he has the chance to carve out a legacy that would place him among the all-time greats.

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