Before the start of the Miami series, Celtics forward (and defensive player of the year candidate) Grant Williams took a minute to reflect on the intense 7-game series against Milwaukee.
Speaking about the Bucks, and specifically Giannis, he lauded the talent and skill level and even compared Antetokounmpo to prime Shaquille O'Neal:
“That’s a guy, that [is] probably the next coming of Shaq in terms of generational talents. … It was great to be able to compete against a guy of his stature. One of the best players in the world."
Williams wasn't just being generous. The truth is, Giannis is a force that the league hasn't seen in a long time and his dominance is akin to the young Shaquille O'Neal.
As a 6x All-Star, 5x All-NBA player, 2x MVP, and 2021 NBA Champion, his resume is already enough to draw envy from his peers. While he didn't win the Championship this season, his performance was other-worldly. In fact, after Antetokounmpo's explosive performance in Game 5 against Boston, Kendrick Perkins suggested the Greek Freak could soon be on the Mount Rushmore of superstars:
"We gotta start appreciating the greatness of Giannis Antetokounmpo," said Perkins. "That was a LeBron James type of performance in the playoffs in the Garden. To walk into that hostile environment without one of your key guys in Khris Middleton and go in there and give them a 40-piece wing dinner, all-flats lemon pepper style and to do it in great fashion... and to take that three-point shot. We talk about everything Giannis can't do, we talked about him when he couldn't shoot free throws and was afraid to get to the line, he did that. And look at that moment, Giannis is not taking that shot last year. He has the confidence and when I talk about him on the verge of where he's going as far as being an all-time great and being the second greatest power forward behind Tim Duncan if he keeps this up, but we're going to have to talk about Giannis Antetokounmpo being on Mount Rushmore."
In the end, the Celtics' defense proved too much for even Giannis to handle, and he was unable to lift his Bucks to the Conference Finals. Meanwhile, Boston is now only four wins away from holding the Larry O'Brien trophy.
No matter how it all ends, they should enjoy the prosperity now because Giannis will return next year better than ever — and he'll be ready for another long postseason run.