Giannis Antetokounmpo: Has the MVP finally found his stride at the line?

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 13 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 13 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Following a much-needed All-Star break, Giannis Antetoklunmpo has been a dominant force in each of the Milwaukee Bucks’ past three games.

The Greek Freak has finished with a triple-double in each contest, averaging 29.3 points, 12 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per game. While the numbers up front deserve praise, one area that Antetokounmpo has quietly been flourishing in has been his free throw shooting.

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In this three-game stretch, Giannis has been just short of perfection at the charity stripe by shooting a combined 20-of-21.

After enduring one of the worst shooting months from the line in his entire career just months ago, Antetokounmpo has seemingly flipped the switch. With that shooting being arguably the biggest flaw in the two-time MVP’s game, this recent stretch of success is certainly welcoming for fans.

While it remains to be seen whether Antetokounmpo can keep things consistent, it seems safe to say that although surprising, his recent upward trend is no coincidence.

With newfound consistency at the free throw line, Giannis Antetokounmpo is patching up one of his persistent flaws.

Throughout his entire career, the most important thing for Giannis has always been on how he can improve his game further.

While he continues to do so with a highly-decorated resume growing longer every year, the one flaw that has loomed large has been his below-average free throw shooting. After shooting 63.3 percent on 10 attempts per game from the line last season, it was evident that the two-time MVP needed to improve that aspect of his game.

Antetokounmpo entered the season with some mechanical tweaks in his shooting form, and the experimenting had been hit or miss early on. The Greek Freak had an absolutely abysmal stretch 13 game stretch in January where he shot just 58.2 percent from the charity stripe. This included one of the worst shooting games from the line in league history, where he managed to go a measly 1-for-10 from the line in a win against the Dallas Mavericks.

Following the win, Antetokounmpo spoke on his worrisome free throw woes and how he exactly planned to fix the issue to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard:

"“It’s simple,” the reigning two-time MVP said Friday night after making just one of his 10 free throws in a 112-109 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. “Just go back. Shoot more. Focus on your technique. Take it step by step. Just shoot more. That’s it. The more you shoot, the more you work on it, the better you get. There’s no secret in that.”"

With his struggles at an all-time high at that point, there were major concerns surrounding Antetokounmpo and whether this shooting could be salvageable. However, as previously mentioned, Giannis stuck to his word and has quieted the panic lately with a recent stretch of excellence at the line.

In fact, dating back to the start of February, Antetokounmpo is shooting 150-for-198 from the free throw line, an impressive 75.8 percent. While Giannis deserves praise for his recent uptick in success at the line, he must remain consistent with the postseason inching closer with each passing game.

The two-time MVP has shot just 62.7 percent from the stripe in his 43 career playoff games, which has been a glaring issue in each of the last two seasons. With 34 regular season games left to play until the postseason begins, hopefully Giannis can find a steady rhythm before then. While not yet perfect, Antetokounmpo’s recent efforts at the line provide optimism moving forward.

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This could be the best season of basketball in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s career, and his recent surge in free throw success certainly accounts for some of that.