By Evan Bleier / April 12, 2019

Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo Is the Best Basketball Player on the Planet

The Greek Freak is already at a peak in his NBA career

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks. Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks. Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

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24 years old and in his sixth NBA season, the Greek Freak is already at a peak in his young career.

The overwhelming favorite to win MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a star on offense (27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists per game) as well as defense (1.5 blocks, 1.3 steals) and led the Milwaukee Bucks to the best record in the NBA this season.

As a result, the Bucks will enjoy home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Set to face off against the eighth-seeded Detroit Pistons in the first round, the Bucks will go as far as their two-way superstar can take them.

How far that is will depend on if Antetokounmpo can continue to feast in the paint the same way he has all year and if his sharp-shooting teammates can keep knocking down the looks his interior domination provides on the perimeter.

Just how dominant is Antetokounmpo near the rim?

As a rookie, he had 19 unassisted dunks. This season, he’s racked up 116 of ’em, making him the only player to top 100 as long as the league has been keeping track of play-by-play data.

“I think the thing that’s so unique and different about how Giannis is dominating in the paint is that lots of times he’s starting with the ball outside the 3-point line— and still finishing in the paint,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer told ESPN.

When he doesn’t dunk it or get an easy layup, Antetokounmpo finds his teammates for open buckets and was able to create 17.0 assist opportunities per 100 possessions this season. Many of those assists went to players behind the arc as Milwaukee led the league in assisted 3s this season with Antetokounmpo handing out a whopping 245 of them.

And, though he isn’t a great shooter from deep, Antetokounmpo has made himself somewhat of a threat from 3-point land and made the most triples of his career (52) this season.

“This season’s MVP vote will probably be close,” according to ESPN. “But the league’s best team has a superstar who is clearly the best two-way player in the world’s best two-way sport. What is more valuable than that?”

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