Giannis Antetokounmpo was recently named the #1 power forward in the NBA. In the article “Ranking: The Top 25 power forwards for the 2022-23 season”, writer Frank Urbina has high praise for the 2x MVP.
“The Greek Freak, despite not winning MVP in either of the last two seasons, remains arguably the league’s most impactful player thanks to his contributions on both sides of the floor.”
He’s right. Despite Nikola Jokic taking the top spot in consecutive seasons, Giannis has considerably been the best, or “most valuable”, player in the association for some time now. Some have even compared him to the likes of LeBron James. He has so consistently been the best player in the league that voters have grown tired of awarding him the MVP. Winning the award in back-to-back seasons, 2019 and 2020, probably doesn’t help either. Regardless of voter fatigue, hoopshype.com named him the best player at his position and here’s why.
The Statistical Elite
Urbina lists a number of advanced statistics to strengthen his case, citing Giannis finished second in VORP, BPM, Win Shares, WS/ 48 and PER last season, only behind the reigning MVP. He goes on to mention Global Rating, a sort of homegrown metric of the site, which “combines players’ and teams’ statistics to rank players according to their productivity on the court” (Alberto De Roa). Like in the aforementioned categories, Giannis ranked second in the Hoops Hype cousin of Net Rating, only to Nikola Jokic.
Most games with 30/5/5 in 2022:
25 — LeBron
24 — Giannis
22 — Luka
21 — Jokic pic.twitter.com/AqkG63Ka3v
— StatMuse (@statmuse) August 26, 2022
For those with less faith in modern analytics, Urbina reminds us that Giannis’ raw numbers speak for themselves. The Greek Freak posted season averages of 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game: good for 2nd, 6th and 18th in the league in those categories. He, also, added 1.1 steals and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting over 55% from the field. This unrivaled efficiency and two-way dominance puts Giannis in a near realm of his own. Urbina states Giannis’ numbers “remain ridiculous while the eye test also makes it quite clear the type of player the Milwaukee Bucks power forward is.”
The Eye Test
The 27-year-old came to be called a freak for good reason. It’s not an insult: it’s a warning. Standing 6’11, 240 pounds, Giannis is an absolute terror on both ends of the floor. With uncharacteristic speed and agility at his size, he can seemingly be anywhere at any time to impact the play. Urbina touches on this two-way impact, saying the following:
“[Giannis can] grab a rebound, hightail it in transition himself, throw down monster dunks or create for others, as well as score on face-up opportunities… Defensively… the former league MVP is magnificent… blocking shots… and boasting the ability to guard every position on the floor.”
Well said. Simply put, few players have ever been able to do what Giannis has done and continues to do. With such advanced length and athleticism, he can score, rebound and defend at an elite level. Some criticize his lack of skill, but such claims seem completely unfounded. He perplexes opposing defenses with a myriad of spin-moves and euro-steps, and if all else fails, he has the vision to find the open man on the move. Urbina specifies his jumpshot as his one true weakness, though he “can at least knock down threes at this point in his career.”
To close out his Top 25 list, Urbina says “Antetokounmpo is one of the two or three best basketball players in the world, and 2022-23 should be more of the same for the future Hall-of-Famer”. The good folks here at WI Sports Heroics tend to agree. Giannis has an incredible presence on and off the floor and has been an absolute gift to the city of Milwaukee. Despite what some members of the media might think, the Greek Freak has been and continues to be the best PF in the NBA.
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