Going into the 2018-19 season, he was a very good player who had made the All-Star team the prior two years and had won the Most Improved Player award in 2017.
But he then became an elite player and arguably the best in the world, winning the league MVP award in 2019 and 2020 and the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020.
Just 13 months ago, he got to the top of the mountaintop by leading the Bucks to the world championship and winning the NBA Finals MVP award by scoring 50 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, and blocking five shots in the clinching contest.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Full Highlights in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals vs Suns
50 Pts, Playoff Career-High!
5 Blks! pic.twitter.com/yKsI7Zp7Iw
— . (@yo013478) June 19, 2022
Antetokounmpo is also one of the most likable and humble superstars in any sport, and he has gotten nothing but universal love and respect lately.
But former NBA player Gilbert Arenas went against the tide by scorching the Greek Freak with criticism that may have been off base.
They didn’t mention Giannis name one time but we know who they talking about and the fact of the matter is they not lying at all…. This is all I be trying to get Bucks fans to understand… but anything that sounds like they not praising him sounds like hate to y’all🙄 pic.twitter.com/QxorkhZvca
— Popular £oner (@SoloYoungBuck) August 26, 2022
One thing Arenas got on Antetokounmpo for is playing fewer minutes than many other superstars.
“He doesn’t understand how to be great, how to be great, how to train his body,” said Arenas. “I’m looking at the stats ‘Oh, he’s playing 32 minutes, 34 minutes…’ I’m sorry, but to be here you have to train your body to at least 38 minutes of above. LeBron played 37 minutes at 37.”
Arenas may have a point there, but he also said Antetokounmpo “doesn’t understand basketball,” which proves he was off his rocker.
Antetokounmpo Plays To His Strengths, Which Is Evidence Of Basketball IQ
Yes, Antetokounmpo (at least at this point of his career) is a bad outside shooter who only made 29.3 percent of his 3-point attempts last season.
However, he is someone who plays to his strengths.
He is a one-man fast break, to the point where he could be compared to a young, taller, and leaner LeBron James.
Antetokounmpo goes from end to end in just a few seconds, and he has long strides which allow him to explode for a dunk without needing those last one or two steps most other players need.
THIS GIANNIS DUNK 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 10, 2021
He made a phenomenal 80.8 percent of his shots from within three feet in the 2021-22 season while taking 40.6 percent of his shot attempts from that distance.
The easiest or highest percentage shot in basketball is a layup or dunk on the fast break, especially for Antetokounmpo, and that’s what he looks for virtually all the time.
Knowing his strengths and doubling down on them is a clear sign he does understand basketball and knows how to excel at it.
But Arenas refuses to acknowledge this, and in fact, he doubled down on his criticism with an Instagram post in which he threw shade at the Greek native for not improving his outside shot, free-throw shooting, or back-to-the-basket game.
Technically, those criticisms are true, but Arenas seems to think of Antetokounmpo as someone who isn’t nearly as great as he is in reality and simply someone who puts up great numbers only because he is ridiculously physically gifted.
Arenas is known for his hot takes on today’s players, but this is one where he has gone too far.