With his 2019-20 regular season officially at an end, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s phenomenal campaign takes its place in the history books.
At this point, making history and breaking records is nothing new for Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Still, Antetokounmpo’s achievements remain so incredible that we haven’t reached a point where news of these feats can be overlooked as just another accomplishment.
A prime example on this front comes in the form of the legacy that Antetokounmpo’s 2019-20 season will now hold for the rest of time.
Already named as a finalist for both Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year, and widely considered as the frontrunner to win both of those awards, the basketball history books were already going to belong to Antetokounmpo for this truly unique NBA season.
Beyond that, though, he’s added another incredible exclamation mark to highlight just how spectacular his play has been over the course of this year.
With a one-game suspension meaning Antetokounmpo will miss out on the Bucks’ regular season finale against the Memphis Grizzlies, Giannis finished the 2019-20 campaign with a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 31.9, which is the highest single season PER of all-time.
For those who aren’t familiar with PER, it’s an advanced statistic created by NBA analyst and former executive John Hollinger, which attempts to record a unified value to measure player impact from all areas of the game.
By no means a perfect metric, just like almost every other statistic in existence, PER has its flaws and should be viewed with an added element of scrutiny, if not necessarily skepticism. That’s certainly been the evolution of how PER is viewed in NBA analysis today, and yet it still does have some real utility, most notably when it comes to providing a yardstick to compare players from different generations.
As such, the rankings for single season PER leaders having long been dominated by a mix of Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James offered up a snapshot of some of the greatest players ever to play the game, and the heights of their greatest achievements.
On that front, since PER was conceived by Hollinger, Wilt Chamberlain has been locked into the top spot for the greatest single season of all-time, with his 1962-63 season amounting to a PER of 31.82.
Now, by a very narrow margin, Antetokounmpo has dethroned Chamberlain from that top spot and continued his own personal ascent up the NBA’s all-time leaderboard of greats.
At just 25 years old, Antetokounmpo still has plenty of time to further build out his résumé as a legendary player, and considering he posted a PER of 30.89 last season which sits just outside the all-time top-10, it may well only be Giannis who could knock the current season off top spot in the near future.
With two notable awards likely forthcoming, now Antetokounmpo just needs to lead the Bucks to a championship to cap off one of the most truly spectacular individual seasons of all-time.