Image
FLAGRANTFLOP.com
image

The Greek Freak - Legend in the making?

Published by Yoshi on 5th November - 11:36 (CET)
While watching the Bucks play the Pacers the other day and Giannis Antetokounmpo (ok, this is going to require some copy-pasting) slithering, dunking, dishing and flat out dominating his way to a very impressive stat-line of 27 points, seven boards, nine assists, two blocks and two steals on 11-18 shooting, I heard the game commentators comparing him to Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. It is not the first time that the Greek Freak is mentioned together with one of the all time greats in that "point forward" category. Since being drafted in 2013 the young man has built quite a reputation for himself, but how does he actually stack up against the legends he is compared to?

Scottie Pippen is the prototype for the point forward, Grant Hill is version 1.5 and Lebron James is the obvious 2.0, but let's not forget about Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, both of whom stand 6'9" tall and can easily be called point forwards, even though Magic is broadly considered a pure point guard. While Scottie, Grant and Lebron measure in at 6'8", Giannis stands taller than anyone in this bunch with his whooping 6'11" frame. It is hard to compare other physical aspects as Lebron is clearly a monster but all the other guys can hold their ground almost equally well, so let's just say Giannis wins in height, Lebron in strength and move on to the more tangible parts.

For the statistical comparison, courtesy of Basketball Reference, I have chosen to only look at each player's third season in the NBA as Giannis just finished his. After two year's of adjusting to the pace of the game all these guys were starting to find their own so it should be a fair comparison even if Bird, Pippen and Hill (24) had a few years on the young guns in their respective third seasons with Johnson entering the season at age 22, and James and Antetokounmpo at 20.


































Rk Player Season Age G MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS
1Giannis Antetokounmpo2015-16218035.36.412.7.5060.41.4.2573.75.1.7247.74.31.21.42.616.9
2Larry Bird*1981-82257738.09.218.4.5030.10.7.2124.34.9.86310.95.81.90.93.322.9
3Grant Hill1996-97248039.37.815.7.4960.10.4.3035.67.9.7119.07.31.80.63.221.4
4LeBron James2005-06217942.511.123.1.4801.64.8.3357.610.3.7387.06.61.60.83.331.4
5Magic Johnson*1981-82227838.37.113.3.5370.10.4.2074.25.6.7609.69.52.70.43.718.6
6Scottie Pippen*1989-90248238.46.914.0.4890.31.4.2502.43.6.6756.75.42.61.23.416.5
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original TableGenerated 11/4/2016.

The sample size is almost identical as all players competed in 77-82 games, and even though Giannis played the fewest minutes per game the difference is not huge between him and the others, except obviously the 7.2 minutes between him and Lebron who pretty much had to do it all for the Cavs under Mike Brown.

Scoring
With 16.9 PPG the young Buck places in the bottom half of this list between Pippen and Johnson, but isn't far from the rest with the exception of James who nearly doubles his average with 31.4. Giannis' .506 FG%, however, places him second in that category behind only Magic's ridiculous .537, which shows us that he takes the right shots more times than not. Even though he is not known as a three point shooter, the Freak comes in second to Lebron in both makes and takes from deep mostly due to them playing in a different era than the rest of the group. Antetokounmpo's efficiency from downtown at .257 is however not exactly encouraging. When it comes to getting to the free throw line, Antetokounmpo is right in the middle of the pack with 5.1 attempts per game, and he makes .724 from the charity stripe, a respectable percentage in this company.

Playmaking
To be considered a point forward, a player has to display some serious playmaking skills and all these guys did just that as soon as they hit the NBA hardwood. Giannis comes in last with his 4.3 APG, but it is important to remember that he wasn't utilized as the point for Milwaukee until late in the season. From the All Star break onward coach Jason Kidd gave Antetokounmpo the keys to the offense and the young Greek dished out a very impressive 7.2 assists per game in 28 contests. Had he averaged 7.2 for the full season, Giannis would have placed third, trailing only Hill at 7.3 and Magic at 9.5. Not only does he share the ball efficiently, but he also protects it exceptionally well with his 2.6 turnovers per game pacing this group of all time greats. You might think his time at forward is to thank for this, but during that same span after the All Star break Giannis only averaged 2.8 turnovers despite getting to man the point. When given the opportunity, the Alphabet more than matches up with his legendary peers in the playmaking department and exhibits a very impressive feel for the game at such a young age.

Hustle
In the rebounding department Giannis places in the bottom half of the table, but still ahead of Pippen and James, with 7.7 RPG. That is definitely a respectable number, but standing a couple of inches taller than Larry Legend and still pulling down 3.2 fewer boards per game shows that more can be done in this category. Larry was relentless in chasing after rebounds and worked hard to get the proper positioning, something that we can hope Antetokounmpo will try to emulate. On the defensive end he places last in steals with 1.2 per game, far behind Magic's leading 2.7 but not too far from Lebron's 1.6. What Giannis lacks in the steals category he more than makes up for in blocks, as his ridiculous 7'3" wingspan allows him to swat a leading 1.4 shots per game. Apart from Scottie with 1.2 BPG, no one in the group is close to matching Antetokounmpo here. The Greek Freak provides a well-rounded hustle game, but would probably need to turn it up a couple of notches to match these guys in intensity and future All-Defensive Team selections.

Summary
To even be mentioned in the same conversation as Bird, Johnson, Hill, Pippen and James is an honor as these guys are some of the greatest players the basketball world has ever seen. To match up as well with them across the board as Giannis Antetokounmpo does is an incredible accomplishment. Though not blowing the competition away in any category, the Freak performs better than some of the guys in a few categories and matches up well in others, but what stands out to me the most is his ability to set up his teammates so well while protecting the ball on an elite level. Even when compared to these legends he shines in that department and promises to be a fantastic floor general for years to come.

Combine this with his superior height and the fact that he now enters his fourth season at only 21 years of age and it is safe to say that Giannis more than belongs in the conversation when talking about these legends, and we can all be very happy that we are getting to witness another one of those all time greats developing right in front of us.

SHARE POST →
POST LABELS:
RECENT POSTS
First round injury report
Playoff mode activated.. unfortunately
FlagrantFlop Award Predictions '16-'17 Revisited
The year of the Triple Double
Evaluation of Derrick Rose
The most repetitive players in the NBA
Overtime in the '10s
The Hibachi Show - Shaq on the Grill
Are the Wizards for real?
DNA for the NBA - Bol Bol
Now what?
Check out our new interactive chart!
Not so splashy after all
The Man who lived on the Trading Block
Brows before Cous!
Money, money and some more money
So that's why he wanted a new point guard...
Suck at basketball? You can still make the NBA!
FlagrantFlop's guide to All-Star 2017
Barkley calls out LeBron
Who is this Yogi guy??
Dumb Injuries
Okay, so I made a retro styled trivia game on the NBA
Time to rebuild the Clippers?
Here we go again
Some new stuff!
Is DeMarcus Cousins worth $200 million?!
Could Russell Westbrook really win the MVP award?
Rose is coming home?
Zaza - All-Star starter?
And then there was one.
Let's break out the tin foil
How about my retirement plan?
We might just have another contender in the East
2016-17 might offer a few broken records
5 Warriors that could have been
Burn all Last Two Minute Reports
Trade Rumors
More Alternate NBA Logos
Jimmy Butler - A Superstar emerges
Where in the world is Nerlens Noel?
The Upper Echelon
NBA injuries - is it just bad luck?
The State of the Bulls
Yup, even the NBA gets Trumped
5 Bucks that could have been
Is Dwight Howard kinda, sorta back?
If Disney acquired the NBA - Part 2
If Disney acquired the NBA
Westbrook is DOODOO!
Flagrant Flop Award Predictions '16-'17
Oh no, those two words again
How effective is the three point shot?
Harden, the better version of Steve Nash?
How overrated is Doc Rivers?
The Yugoslavian Giant
Well, that was awkward!
What to expect on Opening Night
I call bullshit!
JaVale McGee: The Warrior (Rated PG)
What is Melo's problem, anyway?
Empty your piggy banks - Expansion bidding in sight
Preseason - what's the point?
LIVE FF EXCLUSIVE: DMC in Vegas
What the blood clot’s going on?
Hail Pop!
#PrayForPhilly
What is going on at nba.com?
5 Clippers that could have been
5 Wizards that could have been
What's new in the East?
Shit, things are changing...
Centers of the Universe
NBA Lockout on its way?
2015 - 2016 Top 10 Plays for every team
10 candidates for the 2016 - 2017 MVP Award
Thoughts about the games in Rio
Some new charts and various updates
Attention to Detail
5 Timberwolves that could have been
NBPA Players Vote Awards
25 somewhat iconic NBA photos
Is it okay to call the NBA D-League a failed experiment?
5 Cavs that could have been
5 Bulls that could have been
Gregg Popovich's full statement on Tim Duncan's retirement
O.J. Mayo has been banned from the NBA!!
HOLDAT! Carlos Boozer is aiming for a comeback
5 Blazers that could have been
Derrick Rose on leaving Chicago
I have a dream
#1 Derrick Rose - The Hometown Hero
The Curse is broken!!
The Euroleague takes some necessary steps
El Grande Finale!
The best hustlers in the NBA
Some Top 10s of the 2015-2016 Season
Recap of the the last few days
Check out our new Player Birthplace Map!
NBA players should probably stay out of twitter..
Sacramento Kings have officially released their new logo
Broken records, lots of em
The Greek Freak is living up to his name
Nate Robinson to the NFL?
Five Flagrant Facts!
Time's up! Let's recap the trades that went down
Just some hate on The Beard
Sometimes people change...
Guns, fireworks and credit card frauds - Agent Zero never quits
Sixers trades two future second round picks for point guard Ish Smith
10 interesting season facts for Y'all
Kevin Garnett is now NBA's All-Time Defensive Rebound Leader
Nike just signed LeBron James for life!
The Warriors are tearing shit up
Scott Skiles is doing it again!
Philadelphia 76ers racks up records!
NBA brings World Peace once again...
FC Barcelona sends more talent to NBA
Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott faces up to 25 years of prison
Ray Allen still not done?