The above play isn’t the most remarkable moment from last night’s game between the Cavaliers and Bucks, but it’s one that says a lot about Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo’s continued growth as a player.
You’ll notice that LeBron James is the one guarding Antetokounmpo out there on the wing, and you’ll also notice that he’s the one getting beaten by Antetokounmpo’s first step and then knocked on his ass. James is 31 now and maybe not quite as quick as he used to be, but he’s still a human tank who we aren’t used to seeing so easily brushed aside by a gangly 21-year-old.
Antetokounmpo was dubbed “The Greek Freak” from the moment he entered the league, but his physical abilities have only gotten more absurd since then. The length and the quickness were always there, but now we’re starting to see what a physically powerful and confident Antetokounmpo looks like. It looks like the play above, and it looks like this rebound:
Antetokounmpo scored a career-high 33 points last night, continuing what has so far been a stellar season. He’s scoring 18 points and grabbing nearly seven rebounds per game while shooting a remarkably efficient 52 percent from the field. He’s attempting more threes than he ever has before and shooting a respectable 33 precent from deep, and his free-throw percentage has improved by 10 points over last season’s mark. Antetokounmpo started as a project player, and all he’s done since entering the league is get better every day. And now, in just his second season as a starter, he’s going 1-on-1 with LeBron James like it’s no big deal.