Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game has changed so much since he first entered the league. He has become stronger and more dominant. Giannis is an unstoppable force in the paint and when he is running the fastbreak. Giannis is the most likely 2-time back to back MVP and seen as one of the elite superstars in the game.
Giannis is a unique talent, but his flaws in his game stick out like a sore thumb. He’s the most dominant player in the game, but the easiest superstar player to guard in the half-court setting. Giannis packed on 10 pounds of muscle and forgot about how he used to play when he first came in the league, and how he used to think. Largely due to the Bucks building around Giannis’ strengths while not making sure that he works on his weaknesses.
The Bucks have gotten comfortable in winning record season games and being a title contender, but what happens when the Bucks system gets exposed again due to Giannis’ lack of skill set? Or because the Bucks refused to make a trade to land a legitimate closer or another bonafide superstar to pair with Giannis? Both these issues correlate with each other because for Giannis to grow and advance his game, he must go back to playing like a guard, and the Bucks have to let him.
The biggest mistake the Bucks made was turning Giannis away from his guard like tendencies. It all started when they fired Jason Kidd. Under Kidd, Giannis was learning how to play like a guard. His movement was more fluid, and he had a lot more touch on his shot. His first career make was a three-point shot, which is hard to believe.
He was learning how to read defenses and control the tempo and pace of the game. Giannis was more confident in his shot. His shooting used to be more in rhythm. No thinking, no seconding guessing, just playing free and loose. That’s what guards do. It’s a reason why Giannis was furious at the Bucks for firing Kidd because Kidd was teaching Giannis to see the game through the lens of a guard, and not just a big.
Giannis is now a hybrid wing who relies solely on athleticism and physical dominance. Just imagine if the Bucks would have kept letting Kidd develop Giannis for a couple more seasons. He would be even more lethal because his skill would have been more developed before he packed on the muscle. The Bucks let Jason Kidd go, and Giannis developed only his physical tools, which is why he plays like a big wing instead of a wing with guard skills.
So is Giannis’ lack of skill the bucks fault or his own? The answer is both! Both Giannis and the Bucks have benefited from Giannis playing a paint oriented game. The Bucks winning games means more money and more regular-season success because the coaching staff has maximized Giannis’ biggest strength. His athleticism! Giannis also wins because he is receiving individual accolades like MVPS, all NBA teams, and media attention.
All this is great and especially when it comes to having regular-season success and building Giannis’ brand. Although, it will continue to hurt Giannis in the playoffs in the half-court setting, or the long run of his career when his athleticism slows down. All because his skill set isn’t up to the same caliber of wing players like Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, or even big men like Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid.
We all know Giannis doesn’t believe in being buddy-buddy with players in the offseason, but he could become a better player if he starts training with more skill players or retired players that will help improve on his skillset. Like Jason Kidd was doing in his earlier years. If Giannis goes back to his roots and starts to develop more guard skills, he would have the potential to be a Mount Rushmore type of player.