Pacers’ Thaddeus Young says Raptors have done a good job defending Giannis Antetokounmpo by ‘making him play in crowds’
Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young says the Toronto Raptors have done a good job defending Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Eastern Conference Finals by “making him play in crowds.”
Per Michael Pina of SB Nation, no NBA player has spent more time guarding Antetokounmpo over the past two seasons than Young. Over that span, Young has guarded Giannis on 351 possessions.
Young says the Raptors are throwing multiple bodies at Antetokounmpo and making The Greek Freak beat them from the perimeter. So far, the tactic is working, as the Raptors are one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
“They’re just making him play in crowds,” Young told SB Nation. “They’re loading to the ball and forcing the other guys to make shots. They’re saying, ‘If we’re gonna get beat, he’s not gonna beat us going to the rim.’
“Obviously with him having the ball in his hands and being able to attack in transition so much, he’ll be able to sneak by and overpower and outmatch some guys. But for the most part, [the Raptors] have done a good job of keeping bodies in between him and making sure he sees multiple guys each and every time. And they have a lot of big bodies they can throw at him also.”
Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.0 points in the ECF against the Raptors while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Nothing has been easy for Giannis, who is also averaging 4.6 turnovers per game.