Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Month Of March Is Historically Unprecedented
Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting himself in the company of a Milwaukee Bucks legend with his incredible play this month.
It’s been obvious that Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a hell of a tear right now to anybody watching the Milwaukee Bucks. Point Giannis has been a rousing success both in terms of winning percentage and statistics.
The statistics that Giannis is putting up right now are simply ridiculous. Thus far in March, Giannis has played nine games. In those nine games he’s averaged 21.1 points, 8.8 assists, and 8.1 rebounds in 37.3 minutes per game.
Antetokounmpo has been good to great all season, but he’s never averaged more than 4.9 assists per game in a month before now. Remarkably, even with the ball moving in and out of his hands more than ever Giannis is turning the ball over just 2.8 times per game this month–that’s only 0.2 more per game than his season average.
Even without factoring in a great assist-to-turnover ratio (3.14, which is a delicious number and would be good enough for seventh in the NBA this season), a single player recording that many points, assists, and rebounds per game is rare.
In fact, no NBA player has averaged 21.1/8.8/8.1 over the course of a season in the last 50 years. Only one player has ever managed to maintain those averages for an entire year.
Bucks fans familiar with history will likely know who did it way back when. Mr. Triple-Double, Oscar Robertson, averaged those numbers or better five times in his time with the Cincinnati Royals, including one season in 1962 where The Big O averaged a triple-double.
Nobody else has ever managed to do what Giannis is doing in March over the course of a season. Relaxing the requirements a bit and rounding down to 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game allows just three more players into the club.
Those three players are Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. Each of those three legends was only able to maintain those averages for a single season: Chamberlain in 1968, Magic in 1981, and Jordan in 1989.
Only Magic managed numbers like that at age 21 or younger, which is Giannis’ current age. Magic is also the only one in the group to post those numbers in less than 40 minutes per game: he averaged 37.1, just 0.2 less minutes per game than Giannis is playing this month.
Of course the difference between good players and great players lies in consistency, and Giannis Antetokounmpo has yet to post anything close to 21/8/8 over an entire regular season. Giannis also has yet to run the floor for an entire season though.
It may be wise to temper expectations, but it sure isn’t fun. Point Giannis will have a legitimate shot to add his name next to Robertson’s in the history books if he can really keep up this insane production next year.
He’ll be older, wiser, and better. At just 22 years old, Giannis still won’t be in his prime years. There’s a real chance that he becomes the first player in the last five decades to post those per game numbers in a season.
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Antetokounmpo has already carved out a spot in Bucks history with his recent run of triple-doubles. It almost feels sacrilegious to consider, but if there was ever a second player with the ability to average a triple-double in a season, it’d be the Greek Freak.
Putting Giannis in the same conversation with Oscar Robertson was preposterous before the season began, but with the recent tear he’s been on the two will continue to be linked. Especially if Giannis continues to break The Big O’s Bucks records.
Only time will tell if Antetokounmpo can go after Robertson’s Cincinnati records in the future and average a triple-double, but he’s been great enough for it to be considered possible. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player currently in the NBA in that conversation, which is a testament to his untouchable versatility and talent.