There is no question that Giannis Antetokounmpo is geared up to have his best year yet. He is coming off of a breakthrough season in which he really established himself as an all-star player. What is more impressive, though, is how mismanaged the team around him was. Their in-game decision making was so bad that their coach, Jason Kidd, was fired halfway through the season despite the team being in a decent position to make the play-offs. Their interim wasn’t much better, but now, with an experienced coach like Mike Budenholzer, the Bucks, and specifically Giannis, are ready to explode.
Giannis has the pieces around him to be great. He has Eric Bledsoe to take away some of the playmaking weight off of his shoulders, and plenty of pieces like Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Brook Lopez for him to pass to. They are just good enough that he won’t have to do all of the work, but also just bad enough that he will get to have the ball as much as he wants. Especially without a lot of really good passers to facilitate the offense, the offense is basically going to begin and end with Giannis. He has the skills to score inside at will, as well as the passing ability to dish it out to his teammates after the defense collapses on him. The Bucks are completely his team, and he has the skillset to make them compete for a top spot in the East.
Another big thing to go Giannis’ way is that he is going to have a defensive system that properly utilizes his abilities on defense. He can legitimately guard all five positions, and Budenholzer has a back for turning his wings into huge contributors on that end of the court. With a coach that builds around players with his skillset, it could be a huge year for him. Although it is hard to imagine him improving as a defender after nearly winning Defensive Player of the Year last season, we might actually see it. The sky is the limit for “The Greek Freak”, and don’t be surprised if he finishes with the Defensive POY that he nearly won last year.
Because he has a coach that is going to utilize him better on both ends of the floor, seeing Giannis walk away with his first MVP award should surprise no one. He has improved so much every year without proper coaching that its actually scary to think about what he’ll do with a coach noted for developing players. This season may actually go beyond an MVP, though. This may be the season that he goes from “future superstar” to “future Hall of Famer”. He might have more talent than any player since Lebron, and the seems like the year we see him fully evolve into a truly great player. That is a lot to live up to, but there can be no question that he has what it takes to make these immense expectations into a reality.