Gaming and E-sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s passing leap has taken his game to a new level

“First of all, let’s start with this, motherfuckers did not know I could pass.”

These are the phrases of Giannis Antetokounmpo, essentially the most healthful celebrity in skilled sports activities, days after successful his first NBA championship final summer time. Antetokounmpo had simply dropped a 50-point, 14-rebound masterpiece on the Phoenix Suns in a title-clinching Recreation 6 efficiency for the ages, one which noticed him conquer maybe his largest weak spot by going 17-of-19 from free throw line within the largest sport of his profession. But within the afterglow a championship that stamped him as an all-time nice, Giannis nonetheless needed to speak about his passing earlier than the rest when he sat down with Eric Nehm of The Athletic for a one-on-one.

Motherf’ers in all probability ought to have recognized that Giannis may move as a result of it was mainly the very first thing on his scouting report when he emerged as an NBA prospect. Again in Feb. of 2013 at Draft Specific, Jon Givony and Mike Schmitz described Antetokounmpo — then a lanky 18-year-old ahead within the second division of the Greek league — as an “extremely smooth ball-handler and a surprisingly adept passer, looking extremely unselfish and very focused on getting his teammates involved. He’s capable of driving left or right and reads defenses far better than you’d expect considering his age and size, as he shows great sparks of creativity and smarts that make it easy to envision him developing into a point forward type as his career progresses.”

9 years later, Antetokounmpo has absolutely blossomed as a passer. When defenses promote out in an try and cease the most effective participant on the planet from his signature drives to to the rim, Giannis can now be absolutely trusted to learn the protection and make the correct play. Typically instances, which means throwing a spectacular move just like the sorts that dotted his effort within the Bucks’ Recreation 1 win over the Boston Celtics within the second spherical of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

The prettiest of Antetokounmpo’s 12 assists on the evening occurred early within the first quarter, when he drove to the rim, jumped, and in some way discovered Bobby Portis standing alone on the three-point line whereas below the basket. Like, what?

That’s a holy shit move, the sort that sticks with you for a very long time when remembering what a participant can do on the courtroom. Not each move needs to be that putting, although. Antetokounmpo additionally did a great job of discovering teammates when he didn’t have to contort in physique mid-air.

When the double-team comes down within the publish, Giannis can discover the open shooter.

When Boston dedicated to stopping Giannis in transition by leaving shooters to cease his drives, he made the correct passes for open threes.

After all, Antetokounmpo additionally dropped loads of dimes that didn’t depend as an help. How on earth did he discover Bobby Portis whereas trapped within the nook on this play? Portis was referred to as for a cost right here, however that’s a wild move from Giannis to maneuver the ball and provides his group a bonus to attain.

Right here’s one other one which didn’t depend for an help, however nonetheless qualifies as a exceptional move by Giannis. Three Celtics defenders collapse on the drive and he finds Bobby Portis vast open for a nook three.

Giannis is averaging 7.2 assists per sport within the playoffs, which is the fourth most of any participant, behind three level guards in Chris Paul, Ja Morant, and James Harden. He’s additionally third within the playoffs in potential assists and fourth in factors created off assists. The burden on his shoulders is larger than ever because the Bucks regulate to life with out Khris Middleton — out for the sequence with a sprained MCL — however Giannis retains proving he’s up for the duty with continuously enhancing creation potential.

He was throwing some electrical passes within the first spherical of the playoffs towards the Bulls, too. As Chicago dedicated a number of defenders to stopping Giannis each time he touched the ball, Antetokounmpo reliably hit his teammates to place them in place to attain.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has thrown some wild passes all season

What a rattling laser.

Eyes at the back of his head on this one.

It doesn’t matter what number of defenders are on him, he all the time appears to search out the open man.

Being the largest and strongest participant on the ground certain helps as a playmaker. Giannis can all the time see over the protection, and he’s in a position to get some vital velocity on his passes even when his physique is in compromised positions.

So why do defenses go away Bucks shooters open so usually? Properly, in the event that they don’t commit a number of defenders to stopping Giannis, he’s simply going to do that.

In Recreation 1 towards Boston, Giannis’ greatest move of the evening may need been the one he threw off the backboard to himself.

Antetokounmpo has been a excellent passer for a number of years now, so this isn’t completely new, however he did common essentially the most assists of his profession per-100 possessions this season. For a participant whose sport has been foolishly lowered to “running and dunking” by different stars within the league, it’s essential to notice how full Giannis’ sport now’s.

Giannis is the most effective defensive participant within the NBA for my cash. He’s essentially the most unstoppable rim attacker within the league, too, particularly when he’s in transition however even within the halfcourt. And when a number of defenders decide to stopping his drives, Giannis can constantly be counted on to make the correct move, and oftentimes even the spectacular one.

That is the most effective participant within the NBA, and it seems like he’s nonetheless getting higher at 27 years previous. We could be watching a top-10 basketball participant ever proper now within the prime of his profession. He certain does much more than run and dunk.

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