Giannis Antetokounmpo needs to stop shooting threes

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The Milwaukee Bucks had no concern for fashion factors heading into Recreation 3 of their second spherical sequence towards the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday within the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Milwaukee was down 0-2 within the sequence, and coming off a horrific Recreation 2 efficiency that noticed them lose by 39 factors. The Bucks needed to win this sport by any means crucial, no matter how fairly it was.

Milwaukee did win, 86-83, in one of many ugliest NBA playoff video games you’ll ever see. It was a remarkably sluggish affair contemplating the Nets and Bucks every completed with two of the 5 best offenses in NBA historical past this season. Every crew shot below 38 % from the sphere, and 25 % or worse from three-point vary. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe stated, “calling {that a} rock struggle is disrespectful to rock fights.”

A part of what made the sport so ugly was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s decision to take the open threes the Nets had been giving him. Antetokounmpo went 1-for-8 on these makes an attempt, after which shot 13-of-23 from two-point vary. Giannis did finish the evening with 33 factors and 14 rebounds, nevertheless it was mind-boggling to look at him miss three-point try after three-point try that the Nets had been extraordinarily completely satisfied to give up.

Right here’s a minimize of all of Giannis’ makes an attempt from three-point vary in Recreation 3:

Right here’s a have a look at Giannis’ capturing chart for the sport. Chances are you’ll be aware all the purple X’s above the arc.

Antetokounmpo has by no means shied away from taking threes. Giannis tried 3.6 three-pointers per sport this yr and hit 30.3 % of them. His quantity from the surface was down a bit from final yr, when he tried 4.7 threes per sport and made a mainly similar 30.4 % of these photographs.

Giannis has been taking threes towards the Nets as a result of they’re large open photographs, with Brooklyn defenders sometimes standing on the foul line to depart him on their lonesome on the arc. He takes threes as a result of he is aware of what it’s prefer to see them go in, significantly towards the Nets. Throughout two common season video games towards Brooklyn in early Could this yr, Antetokounmpo went 8-for-20 from three and powered the Bucks to a pair of massive wins. Antetokounmpo is among the nice gamers within the sport right this moment, and he has confidence in his talent set. He has by no means been somebody who performs scared.

There’s a distinction between enjoying scared and enjoying good, although, and that is the place it comes again to each teaching and public notion.

Mike Budenholzer must keep away from placing Giannis in place the place he’s tempted to shoot

Antetokounmpo has by no means performed with a really elite offensive initiator since arriving in Milwaukee. He has crammed that vacuum within the absence of an elite playmaker, usually citing the ball and operating each pick-and-roll and isolations as a lead handler alongside Khris Middleton and now Jrue Vacation. Whereas it has labored to an excellent diploma throughout the common season, the ebook is out on find out how to defend Giannis within the playoffs. It’s on his embattled head coach Mike Budenholzer to determine other ways to make use of him.

It feels just like the Bucks make their offense 500x tougher than it ought to be. Milwaukee must leverage Antetokounmpo’s historic mixture of dimension, velocity, and uncooked energy by getting him in movement. The simplest manner to do that as by making Giannis the screener within the pick-and-roll. When Antetokounmpo rolls laborious to the basket, good issues occur for Milwaukee:

Giannis as a screener for Vacation or Middleton ought to be the bread-and-butter of Milwaukee’s offense. As an alternative, the Bucks too usually default to Giannis dribbling on the high of the important thing being tempted to take a shot that he’s not excellent at.

The opposite manner to make use of Giannis is as a cutter off the ball. When Antetokounmpo units and slips back-screens, he places an infinite quantity of stress on defenders in Brooklyn’s switch-almost-everything scheme. Milwaukee must hunt the weakest hyperlink on the Nets’ protection — often Kyrie Irving — and pressure them to both forgo the change or rush over assist defenders as Giannis barrels his option to the basket.

Whereas Giannis doesn’t set an off-ball display screen on this instance, the play does present his talent as a cutter and the way a lot pressure he can generate when he will get a head begin.

Budenholzer has been a beautiful common season coach for the Bucks during the last a number of years, however he’s fortunate he stored his job after final season’s disappointing second spherical loss to the Miami Warmth within the bubble. Bud may be very clearly teaching for his job on this sequence. He wants to regulate to place extra stress on the Nets, and that begins with how he makes use of Giannis.

Giannis ought to be regarded as a giant man, not a guard

There was a viral clip of Giannis in Recreation 3 struggling to create within the halfcourt when matched towards Blake Griffin. Shouldn’t among the best gamers within the league have extra strikes off the bounce than this?

At present’s period of the NBA has largely been outlined by outsized ball handlers who would sometimes be regarded as forwards taking over the position of level guard. LeBron James and Luka Doncic are the 2 most blatant examples of this, however James Harden and Jimmy Butler additionally match to a level. From early in his profession, former coach Jason Kidd stated Giannis could possibly be the Bucks’ level guard. This line of pondering has finished an enormous disservice to Giannis as folks have in the end judged him as a guard and failed to understand what makes him so distinctive.

In case you consider Antetokounmpo as a giant man, all of a sudden his lack of superior dribble strikes or three-point capturing capability develop into loads much less detrimental. Did anybody ever criticize Shaq for not having a killer crossover or deep capturing vary?

Giannis is listed at 6’11, 242 kilos, and he feels even greater than that due to his immense size and power. He’s develop into among the best defensive gamers within the league as a result of his capability to place an imprint on the sport as a assist defender close to the rim. Whereas it wasn’t flawed to check out new improvement pathways early in his profession, at this level it’s fairly apparent that Giannis ought to be used and considered as a giant.

If the Bucks need to make this sequence aggressive, it begins with discovering higher methods to make use of Giannis. It begins with not placing him ready the place he’s tempted to take threes. If the Bucks don’t do it, Budenholzer might be in search of a brand new job in a pair weeks, and there might be a ton of stress on everybody else throughout the group.

Giannis dedicated to the Bucks earlier than the season by signing his supermax deal. Now the Bucks have to commit to raised supporting him and the ways in which he’s used.



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