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The gift and curse of being Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Roar Guru
20th July, 2021
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He is one win away from his first NBA Championship, so why do we find the man known as the “Greek Freak” copping more criticism than applause?

It’s the gift and the curse of being the man simply known as Giannis.

Coming off back-to-back MVPs in 2019 and 2020, Giannis has always said he doesn’t care too much for individual accolades – he craves a championship.

This season, as fate would have it, Giannis is one win away from claiming that ever elusive championship. But for a man on the top of his game and on his way to a potential Finals MVP as well, he has copped his fair whack of criticism.

Known purely for his power game, Giannis’ basketball prowess comes from his freakish athleticism and the way he attracts attention due to his crazy power.

Known predominantly as a paint scorer, Giannis does his work as close to the basket as possible. Any points coming outside the key are usually due to him flying from all crazy kind of angles to finish off lobs and alley-oop plays.

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So this style has worked well for him right? He’s a two-time MVP and all-star game MVP, so where does the hate stem from?

In today’s generation, being an inside scorer is super strange. The game has evolved, in no small part thanks to Steph Curry, to a dominant outside shooting league, with most being able to adapt and “stretch” their game.

By stretch, players who would be considered “big” have adapted to shooting a long ball or grown a jumper that was not there prior. The mere thought of someone not being able to shoot a nice three or have an outside jumper, just looks strange in today’s game.

Enter: the curse for Giannis.

Giannis has tried to develop his shot and, although it sometimes comes off for the most part, he hasn’t been able to improve it as much as he probably liked.

His three-point and free throw percentage is quite low – 28.7 and 71.7, respectively. His overall field goal percentage is quite strong, due to his power and presence in the key where he scores 90 per cent of his buckets.

Is his game quite readable? Yes. When he catches the ball at the top of the key, you can almost bank that he is going to drive it in.

He may pull out a jumper here and there, but most the time you know what’s coming. However, teams still can’t stop it.

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I don’t understand why he cops the hate he does, if teams still can’t stop him when they know exactly what he is going to do.

In 2000, there was a guy by the name of Shaquille O’Neal, who got his first league MVP, who could not shoot to save himself. He stuck to his bread and butter, lead his team to a championship and got the individual accolades he deserved.

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His strengths? Literally, his strength. Anything inside the key, he was unstoppable, in a similar fashion to Giannis, he knew what he was good at, and stuck to it.

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The fact Giannis is cursed because of his style of game, speaks volumes to him as a player, because teams still cannot contain him and he was on his way to a championship.

Current and former players continue to throw shade his way because of his style of play, but they’re all currently on holidays – probably because Giannis knocked their team out of contention himself.

The gift? Absolute physical prowess. The development of his body since entering is absolutely incredible. His muscle mass is absolutely astounding. His drive to the basket is almost second to none, with a vary of moves like a spin move, or just a straight power dunk over his opponent.

His energy is unmatched, he plays as hard as anyone in the game, and plays defence to match. He has been ridiculed for not taking on the ‘tough task’ but, because he’s such a strong and great help defender, it makes sense to leave him inside the key.

He is as unselfish of a star player as you’ll get and has flashes of Kobe Bryant’s famous “Mamba Mentality”, where he zones off everything and just focuses on basketball and winning.

Should he win this championship, he will undoubtedly be Finals MVP, thus giving him almost anything you can ask for.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Championship ring, Finals MVP, league MVP, all-star game MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player.

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Quite a resume for a one-trick pony right?

Stick to your bread and butter Giannis, stand out in a league full of followers. Go Bucks!

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