Giannis Antetokounmpo looks to become Bucks’ first All-Star since Michael Redd
Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s emergence in the league has become more than just a mystical occurrence, but a scary reality for most defenders in the Eastern Conference. His mix of size, length, outstanding athletic ability, and nationality have gotten him the nickname “The Greek Freak” across NBA circles.
The guard/forward hybrid is celebrating his 22nd birthday today and has taken plenty of strides since his first few games in the league as a ripe 18-year-old.
But what the Milwaukee Bucks have wanted the most since his arrival in the league is to break a 12-year drought without an All-Star representing them.
Yes, it has been 12 years since a chiseled lefty sniper by the name of Michael Redd donned an All-Star patch emblazoned in his blue Eastern Conference jersey.
Antetokounmpo has been a force to be reckoned with, making an impact in all areas of the court. His 22.8 points per game average don’t tell the entire story, as he also averages 8.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.2 steals, and 2.2 blocks through 19 games this season.
“Having been around some of the best in the world in LeBron (James) and Dirk (Nowitzki),” head coach Jason Kidd told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst referencing his former Team USA and Dallas Mavericks teammates, “wouldn’t it be cool to have those two combined as one player? Maybe that could happen.”
“We’re in the early stages of seeing where he can take us,” he added. “What he’s done is show that he can handle a lot right now. There’s going to be a time where we’re going to raise the bar again and see how he does.”
While the Bucks’ lanky unicorn has still plenty to learn at the NBA level, there’s no denying that the things the coaching staff could frankenstein with his sheer athletic talents can give the Milwaukee faithful plenty to salivate about.
“I want to make great plays. It can be blocking a shot, it can be passing to an open teammate or dunking. Just great plays,” said Antetokounmpo. “That’s what makes me excited.”
Redd averaged 21.7 points and five rebounds in his lone season as an All-Star in 2004. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s numbers far surpass Redd’s, but it’s also a much more demanding NBA with higher scoring prowess and an emphasis on being multi-dimensional. If he can keep up his torrid pace, it won’t take long before he garners the attention of fans and coaches despite playing in a small market team.