The Milwaukee Bucks made it to the conference finals again since 2019, beating the New York Nets in one of the most memorable series in this year’s playoffs. Heading into this series, there was a dark cloud hanging over the organization, if they couldn’t get by the Nets, major changes will have to be made.
It all starts with Giannis. He’s in that upper echelon of players that post-season success is all that matters. Every year he comes up short of a championship is another off-season of media speculations and for fans of the Bucks and the rest of the NBA to ponder on what his next move will be.
Giannis is a freak of nature, his athletic abilities are second to none. In a league full of the one percent of athletes, Giannis stands out. With all that being said, his game is primarily based on his unreal abilities: i.e: getting quick transition, and hard rims runs. There is a limitation to how effective that can be in the playoffs, and with the ability to game plan around impact players, everything gets tougher.
Superstars in the NBA are hard to game plan against. For most of the premier players, there are little to zero holes in their games offensively. This is where there is a lot of optimism in Giannis’ game. For context, Giannis didn’t start playing basketball until he was 14, for most NBA stars, they were already deep into AAU basketball by that age.
When you look at the stats, you wonder if there’s anything he can do more with career playoffs averages of 24 ppg, 11 rebounds, and five assists. This year he took another leap in the playoffs, averaging 30 ppg, 14 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. But when you have a chance to go down as a pantheon player, the aesthetic of your game matters.
It all starts with his shooting, Giannis puts in hours in the gym on improving his shot, but it hasn’t translated in the games. He’s going to have to knock that down consistently to open up the rest of his game. One thing this postseason has taught us is Giannis’ confidence will never wane off taking those shots, it’s about his opponents respecting it.
With the conference finals well underway, Milwaukee is up one game on Atlanta. Giannis as a screener for Holiday or Middleton should be the bread-and-butter of Milwaukee’s offense. Instead, the Bucks too often default to Giannis dribbling at the top of the key, tempting him to take a shot that he’s not very good at.
In this series, the Bucks have adjusted on that with Giannis constantly attacking the rim and Middleton and Holiday taking control of the offense in the fourth.
It’s sometimes scary to think what the ceiling of Giannis game could be. His combination of size, speed, and power, all while developing his skill sets, makes you wonder if there’s another leap or two to go.