Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer compares Giannis Antetokounmpo to Tim Duncan
Giannis Antetokounmpo is having a breakout season. Not only is he possibly on his way to his first MVP award at just 24-years-old, but the Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in not just the Eastern Conference, but the league. According to the Atletic’s Sam Amick, His success alongside Mike Budenholzer has the first year Bucks head coach seeing some similarity an all-time great in Tim Duncan:
“I think personality wise, and approach wise, he is (similar to Duncan),” said Budenholzer, who spent 19 seasons as a Spurs assistant before his five-year run as Atlanta’s head coach that preceded this Bucks challenge. “It’s him as a teammate. Like, he’s such a great teammate. He’s so humble, but hungry. So humble, but wants to be great and wants the team to be great. Those are all kind of the characteristics of Timmy, and it’s just amazing how his teammates loved him and it’s very similar with Giannis.”
There could be a decent amount of truth to this comparison. In a time of increased player movement, few other players in the league seem as positioned and likely to be able to have a similar one-team type of career. Giannis has expressed interest in staying in Milwaukee long term as opposed to playing for a larger market.
On the court, the familiar dominance is present, for sure. He may taken a little longer than Duncan to elevate to an elite level of play, but in just his sixth season, Antetokounmpo is putting up monster numbers. His MVP campaign this season isn’t just fueled by the Bucks’ 48-16 record, but also an absolutely dominating statline. Through 59 games this season, he is averaging 27.0 points, 12.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game.
The Greek Freak may not be the traditional power forward, or quite the master of fundamentals Tim Duncan was, but it goes without saying that he is making his teammates better and thriving in the perfect system. After it’s all said and done this season, there’s a chance he could even have a ring to match at least of Duncan’s.