Giannis Antetokounmpo is having one heck of a season for a 21-year-old, but the third-year potential phenom is still inconsistent.
Why? He doesn’t shoot. He can dribble. He can pass. He can finish. But he isn’t making shots away from the rim, and his jumper hasn’t improved much since year one in the NBA.
Bucks general manager John Hammond recently gave an interview to Nikos Varlas at EuroHoops, and in it, he mentions just that, but he goes a step further: Giannis is one mere developed jump shot away from becoming an All-Star-caliber player:
I’ll tell you this. Giannis, at 21, needs two simple things to become an All Star, from this moment that we’re speaking: to score the open jump shots from 15-16 feet and three-pointers from the corners.
Hammond isn’t wrong. Greek Freak is averaging 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists a game at the moment, and it just became legally acceptable for him to walk into a bar three months ago. Heck, he’s 6-foot-11 and is already playing point guard competently. He’s already a good player and is athletically capable of pulling off some of the best moves you’ll see around the league. Add a jumper, and he’ll be good to compete against just about anyone.
But saying that someone who’s a career 36 percent shooter from midrange and 27 percent from 3, per Basketball-Reference, is just a jump shot away from greatness trivializes just how far Giannis’ shooting has to come merely to reach league-average levels. It can happen over time, just not overnight. It’s akin to evaluating that I would be the world’s most prolific basketball author—if only I could write.
If only I’d paid closer attention in seventh-grade English class, this would all be different, and I’d have four—maybe five—New York Times best-sellers by now.
But I don’t. And Giannis can’t. For now.
(And while we’re here, dibs on writing the best-selling book about how Giannis developed his jumper and became an All-Star.)