Giannis Antetokounmpo, commonly referred to as “The Alphabet,” is overlooked according to Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd because his name is hard to pronounce.
Upon coming to the NBA at the age of 19, Giannis Antetokounmpo had three things: a whole lot of potential, incredibly long arms and a last name that’s just as long as his limbs. He’s matured rather quickly, and the Greek Freak has evolved into a Vine megastar and one the league’s most versatile players.
Despite that, Bucks coach Jason Kidd thinks he’s overlooked. And it’s because his last name is such a tongue-twister. “It’s hard to pronounce,” said Kidd to Charles Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Isn’t that right, President Obama?
Barack Obama tries to pronounce Giannis Antetokounmpo pic.twitter.com/s3f1svIoFt
— Dan Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) November 16, 2016
If anything, Antetokounmpo’s talent gets overlooked because the Bucks routinely underachieve. The underachieving isn’t so bad this year, and they sit at a respectable 7-8. Years prior, however, Milwaukee finished with 33 (last season) and 41 wins (the year before last).
A big reason the Bucks have the record they have is that Giannis is having a career year and is looking scarier than ever before. His averages through 15 games are 22.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists, which put him alongside Russell Westbrook and LeBron James as the only players to average those numbers, according to Basketball Reference.
Antetokounmpo’s ability to grab a rebound, run the fastbreak and finish through traffic is what differentiates him from most other guys of his size — the true difference is that he can go 30-feet with just one dribble.
Recently, in a testament to his versatility, Antetokounmpo joined Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Andrei Kirilenko as the only players since 1984 to have a game with 20 points, ten rebounds, ten assists, five steals and three blocks.
Furthermore, his tree limb arms only enhance his defense, and he’s swatting 2.1 shots a night while collecting nearly two steals. Anthony Davis is the only other player to average more than two blocks and 1.5 steals a night, per Basketball Reference.
His defensive rating per 100 possessions is at a career-best (100), which highlights his improving IQ as a defender. Since it’s his fourth year, he doesn’t need to rely on athleticism as much, and he’s clearly more comfortable on both sides of the floor.
The only thing I could pick on him on defense is how often he fouls. Even though he’s learning, Giannis wants to contest every shot, which isn’t always the smartest decision. He’ll grow out of that as he gets even older and realizes that his length alone is enough to bother anyone who drives on him.
Antetokounmpo, if he continues at this pace, might be able to sneak into the All-Star game no matter what the Bucks’ record is. He’ll be fighting against LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler, just to name a few, but how many votes he receives will be an excellent indicator of whether or not he’s overlooked.
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