For all the disappointment and strife the 2015-2016 season brought to Bucks fans, the latter half of the season provided optimism in the form of the Point Giannis phenomenon.
Beginning shortly after the All-Star break, Jason Kidd placed the reins of the offense in the hands of Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the rest may just be history.
League pundits raved about the prospect of an athletic 7-footer with guard-like passing skills, and although the Bucks’ record was only 10-12 over the final 22 games of the season, the statistical effect the switch had on Giannis cannot be overstated.
These trends, coupled with the lack of options at the position, led Jason Kidd to declare this summer that Antetokounmpo would be running the offense for the foreseeable future.
Playing Giannis at point guard does more than simply put the ball in the hands of the Bucks most explosive and dynamic playmaker, which in itself may be reason enough to make the switch. This alignment also mitigates one of the Bucks biggest issues, which I’ll get to later – three-point shooting.
It’s clear that the front office is building around Giannis, and the expectation that comes with that trust likely assumes at least another year of growth in terms of play. At still only 21 years old, it’s certainly not unrealistic for Giannis to further his skills as a ball-handler and develop an outside jump shot.
There is certainly a defined path to stardom for Giannis, what with his focused weaknesses and potential max contract extension, but what may not be as pleasant to think about is the other side of the issue.
It could be that the success of the Point Giannis phenomenon was nothing more than a fluke that defenses will soon have an answer for. Perhaps neither Giannis nor Jabari Parker develops a jump shot and offensive spacing becomes irreversibly clogged. Maybe the embattled Greg Monroe will refuse to mesh play-styles with the offense’s new direction.
As is to be expected with an unprecedented tactical move such as this, the possibilities are endless, but Bucks fans would do well to have faith in their cornerstone.
Best Case: continues to grow, improves teammates, merits max contract
Worst Case: Point Giannis was a fluke, growth stagnates, doesn’t play nice with Monroe and others
Next: Jabari Parker