Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo replicates Dirk Nowitzki’s feat last done 18 years ago
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has already built an impressive resume in the NBA.
He is the only player in league history to have the Most Improved Player, MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year awards under his belt. He is also expected to join the elite club of back-to-back MVP winners when the 2019-20 recipient is announced.
Yet, Antetokounmpo is likely more focused on leading the Bucks to the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance. He opened up the team’s playoff run by joining some impressive historical company—at least by one statistical measure.
Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 30.6 points and 16.0 rebounds in Milwaukee’s series against the Orlando Magic. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to average over 3o points and 15 rebounds per game in a playoff series was Dirk Nowitzki.
The Dallas Mavericks legend’s feat happened way back in 2002 when he posted 33.3 points and 15.7 rebounds per game in Dallas’ opening-round series. Dirk and the Mavs pulled out the series win in five games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished off the Magic with 28 points and 17 rebounds in Game 5. Not counting his rookie season—when his minutes were limited—Antetokounmpo has averaged 26.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game in his postseason career.
Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavs went 57-25 in 2001-02 but fell in five games to the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference semifinals. Antetokounmpo hopes his Bucks will fare better in their second-round matchup against the Miami Heat, set to begin on Monday.