Giannis is putting up MVP worthy performances on a nightly basis
Giannis Antetkounmpo put together an MVP performance to help the Bucks stop the Pacers’ six-game winning streak. Milwaukee is at a 61-win pace following Wednesday’s 106-97 win over Indiana, 1.5 games ahead of Toronto for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Giannis entered Wednesday night averaging 27.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, then closed his pre-All-Star run with a 33-point, 19-rebound triple-double against the Pacers. Antetokounmpo became just the third player in NBA history to record at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and five assists in three consecutive games.
The Bucks enter the break with a top-two MVP candidate and the East’s best record.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 14, 2019
Giannis has come a long way since he entered the league as a raw bundle of potential to become an unstoppable force in transition and semi-transition. In recent years similar talents have made their way through the NBA but their potential was not realised – not anywhere close to that of Giannis Antetokounmpo who has surpassed all but the most ambitious of projections.
The Greek All-Star has become an offensive star through the development of his awareness and the ball-handling skills that make him a relentless attacker of the painted area. Giannis shoots a staggering 77.6% at the basket with cuts and drives to the hoop, usually with the ball in tow. He takes nearly 10 shots per game right at the rim, and that is only possible if he is able to get there that frequently.
The one skill that still eludes him is outside shooting. Six years in, Gianni still cannot shoot from the outside to an average NBA standard, and there is little sign of progress. However, the Bucks offer plenty of help for Giannis in ways that cohere nicely with his talent, and which allow him to rest down the stretch of the regular in anticipation of an NBA Finals bid.
Antetokounmpo is in an increasingly competitive MVP race with 25 games left to steal the crown from James Harden. Through December and January James Harden averaged 41.6 points per game during a 26-game stretch in which Rockets went 18-8. Houston is now 4-4 in its last eight, while Milwaukee has won eight-straight with Antetokounmpo in the lineup.
Harden is still the likely favourite, but the Greek has placed himself in position to bring Milwaukee its first MVP since 1974.
Find this weekend’s NBA odds here, courtesy of Yobetit.