Giannis can Redeem Himself in Game Seven
Giannis Antetokounmpo has had himself a tough series against the Brooklyn Nets. Kevin Durant has shown that he is the best player currently in these playoffs and has taken the heart out of the Milwaukee Bucks in some of the games. Giannis has taken heat for not just refusing to defend Durant, despite an impressive resume which includes two league MVPs and a Defensive Player of the Year but has also been limited on the offensive end of the floor.
However, after a blowout win in game six, the series is now headed to game seven which presents an opportunity for redemption for Giannis. Given Giannis’ track record in the postseason and the fact that the Nets will be without Kyrie Irving and James Harden is clearly not 100 percent, this is a chance the Greek Freak has to take advantage of for his legacy.
Giannis can Redeem Himself
Giannis’ Track Record
Despite Giannis possessing a Hall of Fame-worthy NBA resume already, he is considered a regular-season wonder at this point in his career. What is the book on guarding Giannis? Given the fact that he is a monster in the paint, the Toronto Raptors figured out two seasons ago to just build a wall in the paint. Since Giannis has still not developed a consistent jump-shot, this makes him a liability in the playoffs. The Miami Heat also exploited this weakness in last year’s playoffs. The former MVP does not necessarily need to become Stephen Curry from beyond the arc, but he has to eventually get a consistent mid-range game.
Giannis This Series
For this series, Giannis has gone through a roller-coaster. So far, he is averaging 30.5 points, 12.8 total rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. These look like great numbers, but what about the shooting splits? Giannis is shooting only 24.0 percent from three-point land, 45.7 percent from the free-throw line, and 56.5 percent from the field. These numbers are simply not good enough, especially coming from a two-time league MVP. Yes, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday need to do their part as the other parts of the “big three,” for the Bucks.
However, Giannis is the true superstar. He needs to show it and actually take over and even ask to defend Kevin Durant, even if it results in a duel between the two superstars. He needs to do what he did in game six and utterly dominate the glass and attack the paint. The man put up 30 points and 17 rebounds while shooting 60.0 percent from the field. Considering the Nets don’t have great rim protection, this is begging for Giannis to use his strengths to exorcise his playoff demons.
A Step in the Right Direction
Giannis is probably going to have to actually win a ring to permanently get rid of his “great in the regular season, chokes in the playoffs,” label. However, knocking off the title-favorite Brooklyn Nets led by Kevin Durant would certainly help Giannis’ legacy. It would be a monumental step in the right direction. With a little help from Middleton and Holiday, the Greek Freak could pull off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. This game seven will show us how mentally tough he really is and if he is made for these moments.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images