Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely going to be the 2019 NBA MVP. He could also be the Defensive Player of the Year, though that would put him in elite company with Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as they’re the only two players to have ever won both awards in the same season.
Things are going well for Milwaukee this year, and they are on pace to win more than 60 games and secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Antetokounmpo has been a big part of that, and he should be with the Bucks for years to come. He’s a generational talent, but what endears him to Milwaukee fans is his attitude.
His coach apparently likes that, too, and in a recent profile by Sam Amick of The Athletic, Mike Budenholzer compared Antetokounmpo to another NBA legend.
Via The Athletic:
“I think personality wise, and approach wise, he is (similar to Duncan),” said Budenholzer, who spent 19 seasons as a Spurs assistant before his five-year run as Atlanta’s head coach that preceded this Bucks challenge. “It’s him as a teammate. Like, he’s such a great teammate. He’s so humble, but hungry. So humble, but wants to be great and wants the team to be great. Those are all kind of the characteristics of Timmy, and it’s just amazing how his teammates loved him and it’s very similar with Giannis.”
Of course Budenholzer is part of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s coaching tree, having been an assistant with them from 1996 to 2013.
It’s good to hear that Antetokounmpo is so beloved and that he’s able to lead by example and by recruiting teammates as lieutenants.
I don’t know how far the Bucks are going in the playoffs this year, but it would be incredible to see them in the Finals. That would certainly make Antetokounmpo feel a little more like Duncan as well.