Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo passes free throw test

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 04: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 04: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has had a nightmare season at the free throw line, but had no such issues against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

With the Milwaukee Bucks flying high with the best record in the NBA, and Giannis Antetokounmpo well on track to becoming a back-to-back MVP winner, there’s not a lot for either party to be overly concerned about at present.

One notable exception to that throughout the 2019-20 season to date has been Antetokounmpo’s free throw shooting, though.

More from Bucks News

Considering the Bucks have implemented a more varied offense this year, and Antetokounmpo is really finding his footing from three-point range too, the most notable chink in both Giannis and Milwaukee’s armor may well be his woes at the free throw line.

Antetokounmpo is attempting a career-high 10.4 free throws per game this season, and yet he’s currently tracking at a career-low percentage of 61.1 percent when it comes to making them.

As a result, even with him now draining threes at a respectable clip, there’s something of an out for opposing defenses when it comes to trying to slow down the almost unstoppable Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks and Giannis may well navigate the regular season without having to give this close to a second thought, but it seems almost certain that if the Bucks are to succeed in the postseason, they’ll need their superstar to be much steadier at the stripe than he’s been this year, and in his previous playoff runs.

With that in mind, Saturday’s Bucks win against the San Antonio Spurs provided an interesting and encouraging glimpse as to what could be coming down the line for Giannis.

Gregg Popovich’s gameplan seemed to be very clearly focused on preventing Antetokounmpo from feasting on his usual collection of scoring opportunities at the rim. As a result, when Antetokounmpo did get to his favored spots under the basket, he was met every time with a strikingly physical form of resistance.

The result was 18 free throw attempts for Antetokounmpo in just under 29 minutes, making it his third highest attempts tally so far this season. Much more importantly, though, Antetokounmpo stood up to the challenge and knocked down the majority of those free throws with zero hesitation.

Giannis went 15-of-18 from the line for a season-high in free throw makes, and for what proved to be a significant share of his 32 points on the night.

Speaking to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the game, Antetokounmpo left no doubt as to his own mindset when it comes to getting to the line.

"“Sometimes when you don’t make a lot of free throws and you’re not making them in the game guys avoid going to the free-throw line. But it’s something that doesn’t really matter (to me).I’m going to go to the free-throw line, try to go 25 times. It doesn’t really matter if they’re going in or not going in. I’m just going to trust my technique.”"

That attitude and ability to be undeterred should undoubtedly benefit Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in the months ahead.

Robin Lopez is finding his rhythm offensively. dark. Next

What would be even better, though, is if the Greek Freak could build his confidence by putting together some more free throw shooting efforts of this caliber.