On Wednesday night the Milwaukee Bucks took a trip to Phoenix to play the Suns. As the game was on the line, Giannis Antetokounmpo took a 3 point shot, and Devin Booker could only think of one thing, "we're in good shape."
Milwaukee finished last season as the top seed in the East on the heels of Giannis' second straight MVP award. They went on to lose to the Heat in the 2nd round of the playoffs, and now appear to have taken a step back in the Eastern Conference pecking order as they are currently 2 GB of the first seed 76ers.
This off-season, the Bucks acquired star guard Jrue Holliday and many expected this to allow the team to take a step forward as title contenders. While Holliday is actually having a good season along with All-Star Khris Middleton, Giannis is the one that apparently needs to step his game up.
According to Statmuse, Antetokounmpo is shooting 30% from beyond the free throw line, 24% from 10-14 feet, 33.3% from 5-9 feet, and 76.5% from 5 feet or less. His 63.3% from the free throw line is down from his career average of 71.7% as well. While it's still early, it's obvious that Giannis is having trouble getting buckets with ease, as he has done during his last two MVP seasons. Have opposing teams figured out how to make it difficult for Giannis to get a good shot? If the Greek Freak continues to disappoint he may start getting the Ben Simmons treatment with teams daring him to shot from from mid-to-long range or give it up.
With a record of 16-9 and sitting at the 2nd seed in the East, the Bucks have plenty of time to figure it out. While this is a great position to be in, you have to wonder if this team has what it takes to make a run in the conference that now features Durant, Harden, and Kyrie in Brooklyn, as well as a reenergized 76ers team. If they were the 1 Seed with the NBA MVP last season and couldn't get the job done, what makes you think they can do it this year?
Giannis Antetokounmpo. (n.d.) Statmuse. Retrieved February 11, 2021, from