Why Giannis Antetokounmpo Is NBA’s Most Improved Player This Year
Why he beat out Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Denver’s Nikola Jokic
The 2016-2017 NBA Season is officially behind us, closing with the awarding of some of the year’s best players and coaches. But amidst all the celebration and cheer, a certain 22-year-old stood out yet again. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the NBA’s Most Improved Player and he should be yours, too.
A star on the rise
In the 2013-2014 season, Antetokounmpo was named to the All-Rookie Second Team. He also participated in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, as well as the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during the All-Star Weekend in 2014.
From the beginning, it was clear that Antetokounmpo had talent and deserved to be on the court. But it wasn’t until later on that he really started to shine.
Arguably, Antetokounmpo really started to come into his own during the 2015-2016 season. He averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the 80 games that he played. And while these numbers are impressive on their own, we all saw them improve in 2016-2017.
And then, record after record
For the fifth time in NBA history, a single player led his team in all measurements. For the Greek Freak, that meant 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.9 blocks—numbers that put him at the top of the Milwaukee Bucks. Impressive, yes, but Antetokounmpo did one better. He is the first player in league history to rank in the top 20 in each of these five categories.
Eyes on the future
The improvement on his game is undeniable and there’s no going around the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo to be named the Most Improved Player. His driving force? His team.
Antetokounmpo noted that the Bucks’ struggles in 2015-2016 pushed him to work that much harder. “It was a tough year for us. I decided that no matter what happens, I have to get better every day,” he told The Undefeated. “Things just clicked that I did. I don’t fear anybody.”
And because he’s still so young, we know Giannis is going to keep getting stronger on the court.
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