The biggest question surrounding Antetokounmpo’s game has been his ability to shoot the ball. Over the past nine seasons, fans have seen the Greek Freak gradually ascend to sheer dominant levels as one of the best paint scorers to ever grace the court, but his jumper has always been an issue. He surely silenced critics who said he could never win it all without a jump shot, but still, that would not stop the Finals MVP from working on improving his shooting over the offseason.
Antetokounmpo has indeed shown promise throughout the early going this season by extending his range, showing improved signs from 3-point territory and behind the arc. It is a small sample size without question, but the improvement is a welcoming sign for Bucks fans and a scary sign for opposing teams across the league.
To get a better understanding of Antetokounmpo’s tweaked jumper and why he is seeing more success, I sat down with Roger Galo. Galo is an NBA Offensive Efficiency Specialist and founder of The Galo Shot-Making Method. We talked about all things Giannis Antetokounmpo and how the two-time MVP may have just scratched the surface of his potential at 26-years-old. Galo, like most, thinks the rest of the league could be in trouble if Antetokounmpo consistently knocks down his jumpers.
Roger Galo and I discuss Giannis Antetokounmpo’s tweaked mechanics and results with his jumper early on this season
I kicked off our discussion by asking Roger his thoughts on watching Giannis Antetokounmpo over the years and how he views the Greek Freak.
"“In my lifetime, being around ball, watching ball to the extent that I have watched it, I can’t find enough words to describe his upside. He’s got so much upside ahead of him still I believe… He’s 35 and some change from the three in five games. Becuase he is as big as he is, he is literally, in my estimation, as unstoppable as anybody I have ever watched play in the game.”"
To this point in the season, Antetokounmpo is making 1.3 triples per game, the second-most in his career (1.4 in 2019-20). Most fans would say that the jumper in Antetokounmpo’s rookie season was his purest, so I asked Roger if there were any similarities he noticed between now and the MVP’s rookie campaign that might be helping him see this success from long range early on.
"“He had elements his rookie year that were closer to what I would want him doing than what he did in subsequent years. This year I’m noticing that he’s returning to some of that and the interesting thing to me is oftentimes, they don’t even realize they’re doing it or if they are doing it, what is is that they’re doing, but they’re doing it. When they do make a connection of any sort, cerebrally, just a sense of ease in the motion, the movement, it clicks. It registers, and they kind of hold onto it. And that will be what’s most exciting for me watching as the season unfolds as he gets deeper. Whether he retains it or if it disappears slowly, it leaves him slowly. Or if he gets away from those movements. But right now, he’s doing some good things. He’s got the ball closer to his body, which is always an advantage.”“I think the three ball is a big part of his game and because of the mathematics, it will remain a pretty big component of his game. I’d like to think he’s going to get better. Eventually, he’s going to get to a point where I would like to think he’s going to eclipse 40 percent… I think he shows a propensity to want to improve. That’s what it really takes. Now, the right movements have to be implemented, and that is appearing, at least it is presenting itself in my eyes, the way I look through the lenses when I look at a player, and what I’ve seen so far is real promising because I’ve noticed things that he’s gotten rid of. He’s not cocking the ball back over his head behind his forehead as much as he did, which speeds up your shot. He’s not dipping as low, bending, which speeds up your shot. It does make less movement, so it reduces the variability factor that he has to be concerned about. There are fewer moving parts that he has to be concerned about.”"
Of course, I had to bring up Antetokounmpo’s foul shooting when discussing his jumper. It is not a secret that he has struggled with his foul shooting over the years. It was a hot topic during the Bucks’ title run as opposing fanbases made it a priority to count to 10 during Antetokounmpo’s lengthy routine in hopes of a 10-second violation. This year, Antetokounmpo has sped up the routine tremendously, and it is paying off as he is shooting 71 percent from the line after shooting 65.8 percent over the last two seasons. I asked Roger what he has noticed about the new routine and Antetokounmpo’s newfound success at the free throw line.
"“I can speak to that very confidently in how I was very much against the 10 dribble thing. I’m not even a fan of the six-count. If it’s working, alright, it’s hard not to be a fan to some degree of that, even as a trainer or teacher. It’s hard because if it’s working for him, you want him to experience that physique effect as well as watching the ball go in. That bolsters the physique, your confidence. It can’t hurt you in any way. I am glad to see he made that adjustment and to your point, he is shooting about 73.5 right now in those five games. Again, it will be interesting for someone like me to see whether or not he can sustain that or if it dwindles, but his routine has gotten better.”"
Roger Galo is a firm believer that Giannis Antetokounmpo has not come close to his full potential with his shot and that the best days are ahead of him with the Milwaukee Bucks.