Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the best players in the world. The Greek star who recently signed an extension with the Milwaukee Bucks won the MVP last season. Despite winning the MVP, Antetokounmpo's team underperformed in the playoffs. They lost to the Miami Heat in the second round, while having championship aspirations. That stung as a disappointment to the franchise.
Recently, Sports Illustrated created their own Top 100 NBA players list, similar to ESPN. Their rankings didn't include incoming rookies and factored in past performance, while also including injury concerns. Giannis Antetokounmpo's position was No. 2, ahead of many players. Hoop Central summarized his position on the list and those who he is ahead of.
While Giannis Antetkounmpo's ranking can be justified using the parameters that Sports Illustrated describes, it is still jarring to see him above some championship-winning players, if past performance is included. As of right now, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Kawhi Leonard have all made the Finals, while Giannis Antetokounmpo hasn't gotten out of the Eastern Conference. If we're considering playoff performances as well, perhaps Antetokounmpo should be ranked slightly lower.
Giannis Antetokounmpo at No. 2 may be slightly strange, but he is rapidly ascending towards finally making it into the Finals. Antetokounmpo has thrived in Mike Budenholzer's system, and the addition of Jrue Holiday should help Milwaukee's chances of beating other Eastern Conference contenders. With all that being said, perhaps this is the year where Giannis Antetkounmpo truly takes over as the very best.
Top 10 players, per Sports Illustrated: