The 3-point shot has long been the final frontier in the evolution of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He rebounds like a center. He drives like a small forward. He passes like a guard. His Basketball-Reference page has four positions listed for him in his first six seasons.
He is the living embodiment of the positionless modern basketball revolution. He is the Sloan Conference’s poster boy wrapped within the pages of Kirk Goldsberry’s new book.
But, besides an outlier rookie season from deep, he has never been anything but a bad 3-point shooter.
Until…….now? Over the last 14 games, Giannis is shooting 38.1 percent from deep on three attempts per game. Over that span, the Bucks are 10-4 and Giannis is also averaging 28.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.3 blocks on 60.4 percent shooting overall. His 3-point shooting was 19.3 percent entering that stretch; now it’s 24.2 percent.
So, yes, while you were griping over Kyrie Irving, Giannis turned into Shaq with an above average 3-point shot. And his stroke from deep has been looking pretty good, as opposed to looking like a high school baseball player trying to shoot a baseball into the batting practice bucket.
In this recent 14-game stretch, he’s also driving nearly two times less per game than over his previous 49, 12.9 to 11.1, which would suggest an uptick in more comfortable 3-point attempts.
The consensus way to guard Giannis is to sag from outside and make him head toward the paint, which usually just ends in a head of steam and a poster, like when Rudy Gobert tried this strategy earlier this month.
But if, or when, a time comes when defenders have to play him close and honor his 3-point shooting, the best-player-in-the-league argument may start and end with Giannis.
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