3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo making this list at all is a testament to just how much potential he’s seen as having. The Greek Freak impressed for close to all of last season, even if he didn’t assume a role as point forward towards the latter stages of the year.
It almost seems absurd to expect much improvement from a player who averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per game last season. Giannis has proven he can do better though–he averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.9 blocks after the All-Star Break last year.
Even if he can’t keep his averages quite that high, going from the numbers he posted all of last season to a stat-line resembling what he did in the second half of the season is a big leap forward for Giannis. Or for anybody. According to Basketball-Reference, no player has ever averaged those numbers for an entire season.
Giannis loses some ground on this list for simply being too damn good already. Although going from averaging those numbers for 28 games to maintaining that incredible level of play for 80 games is certainly a leap, it’s something we’ve seen Giannis do before. The next two players have a lot more to prove, and thus have more clearance to leap forward.
Next: Number Two