How Giannis Antetokounmpo has improved his shooting this season

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08 (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08 (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

It’s the age-old question… how dominant would Giannis Antetokounmpo be if he could shoot well consistently? Well, we are beginning to see that this season, particularly in the last couple months for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Antetokounmpo has never been known as a shooter, and he still does not have a great 3-point shot. He is a career 28.8 percent 3-point shooter and is once again hovering around 30 percent this season (29.3 percent). While he has shown hot streaks, such as shooting 55 percent from three in the two weeks before the All-Star break, he has never consistently gotten the 3-point shot down for any long period of time since coming into the league.

However, it doesn’t seem like Giannis needs a 3-point shot. The shots that seem more important for him are midrange shots and free throws. He needs the ability to hit turnarounds or fadeaways from eight+ feet when defenders prevent him from getting in the paint and knock down free throws when teams have no way of stopping him besides fouling. Doing these things makes him even more unstoppable than he already is.

Breaking down Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw-shooting

Giannis shortened his free throw routine to only one dribble this year, and it seems to have helped. Antetokounmpo is shooting 72.2 percent from the free throw line this season, his highest since 2018-19. The last couple of years he has been below 70 percent and was all the way down to 63 percent in 2019-20. Teams could foul him and force him to make his shots from the charity stripe, and he was not able to make them pay very consistently. He was still dominant and won MVP even when he was shooting just 63 percent on free throws, but it is something that helped teams contain him. That is not the case anymore.

Antetokounmpo’s overall consistency at the line has been much improved, as he has been under 60 percent on free throws in just 15 percent of his games this season, compared to 31 percent of his games last season and 44 percent of his games the year before. It even was at 21 percent in 2018-19, when his free throw percentage was better, but he was more streaky than consistent. Giannis’ ability to hit free throws at a solid rate and limit his horrible free throw shooting games and bad stretches basically give teams no way of easily stopping him.

Evaluating Giannis Antetokounmpo’s midrange shooting

As for the midrange shot, Giannis is really starting to make it consistently, and it has gotten even better as the season has gone on. For the season, he is shooting 41.5 percent from the midrange on 3.1 attempts per game, according to This is the highest percentage of his career and the first time he has been above 40 percent since 2015-16.

To put this number into perspective, Giannis is shooting better from midrange (41.5 percent) than D’Angelo Russell (41.4), Zach Lavine (40.9), Tyler Herro (39.2), Kyrie Irving (38.8), Luka Doncic (38), Jimmy Butler (37.8), Anthony Davis (36.9), and Jayson Tatum (36.7).

On short midrange shots (4-to-14 feet), Antetokounmpo is shooting 40.2 percent this season compared to just 35.6 percent in his career prior to this season. These short midranges are the exact shot he needs to start to master when teams prevent him from getting into the paint.

And this number just keeps getting better. Since the start of February, Giannis is at 46.7 percent from midrange. Since the All-Star break, he is at 48 percent. Over the past month, he is at an incredible 55.6 percent. Again, to put it into perspective, Kevin Durant is shooting 55.7 percent from midrange this season. So Antetokounmpo has been at an elite level from midrange in the last month (12 games). These are incredible numbers, and Giannis is now showing that he can make midrange shots consistently over a pretty long period of time.

Don’t expect him to remain near 50 percent from midrange, but if he can be above 40 percent and close to 45 percent, it will help out his game tremendously.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been dominant and virtually unstoppable for years now. He won back-to-back MVPs in 2019 and 2020, and then he had one of the best playoff runs of all time in 2021. With that being said, the rest of the league should be scared of the fact that he still has room to grow as a scorer and shooter, and he is showing signs of more improvement this year.

Next. Grading the Milwaukee Bucks’ interesting signing of Luca Vildoza. dark

We saw what he did in last year’s playoffs, imagine what he can do now with improved free throw and midrange shooting.