Giannis Antetokounmpo is having a breakout season, and he’d be my pick for Most Improved Player so far. Antetokounmpo is earning fans through his excellence and distinctive style, part-point guard and part-dunk hunter.
Yet, not everyone appreciates how Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are handling themselves.
Start with Wall. The Bucks routed the Wizards on Friday, leading by 22 points through three quarters. Washington rested its starters in the fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo scored seven points in six fourth-quarter minutes, bringing his game total to a career-high 39. The Wizards avenged the loss by beating Milwaukee yesterday, and Wall sounded off.
“We felt like they whooped us badly but also you’re just up 20 or 30 points, keeping your star player in trying to get his numbers we kind of didn’t like that. We took that personal,” said John Wall, who had 18 points and a season-high 16 assists. “We didn’t have (anything) written on the board. We didn’t say too much. It was a lot more chippie, a lot more trash-talking than it was in the past. As long as we got the win, we’re fine.”
James has been respectful and supportive in his public comments about Parker and Antetokounmpo, offering stock answers about their potential rather than resorting to his go-to quote of, “I don’t know, I’m not a GM,” when he doesn’t want to talk about a rising star for whatever reason.
Yet privately, after the Bucks beat the pants off the Cavs 118-101 on Nov. 29, James was less than impressed with how Parker and Antetokounmpo clearly played at a higher level against the Cavs than they normally do. That made James wonder why Parker and Antetokounmpo don’t make that level of play their standard and become true professionals.
So, Wall is mad Antetokounmpo played too hard late in a big win against a bad team and LeBron is Antetokounmpo played hard against only a good team?
Giannis, just keep doing you.