ESPN Survey: Giannis Antetokounmpo is the NBA’s best player

Dec 25, 2020; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Nick Monroe/Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2020; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Nick Monroe/Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

ESPN recently published a survey by Tim Bontemps asking 15 NBA coaches, scouts and executives on several questions pertaining to the state of the NBA. The first of the questions posed to the coaches, scouts and executives was “Who is the best player in the NBA right now?” Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo won the vote in a landslide. Out of 15 voters, 11 picked Giannis as the best player in the NBA right now, Stephen Curry received three votes and LeBron James received one.

We’re just a few months removed from Giannis nearly carrying the Milwaukee Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals without Khris Middleton, the Bucks did unfortunately fall to the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics. However, Giannis did some things in that seven game series that have never been done before. During that series Giannis became the first player ever to post 200 points, 100 rebounds and 50 assists in a single series. A really dramatic stat-line when you think about it, all of the incredibly talented players that have come through the NBA and Giannis stands alone as the only player to have a series that strong, and yet the ultimate showing that basketball is a team game, lost the seven game series.

Giannis had a very strong 2021-22 NBA Season, averaging 29.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists. Giannis finished third in MVP voting. Giannis was however, named unanimously First Team All-NBA for the fourth consecutive season. Giannis is the first player in NBA history to be named First Team All-NBA unanimously in four consecutive seasons.

This survey answered by 15 current anonymous coaches, scouts and executives lend a lot of credence to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s claim to being the best player in the NBA. It’s not as if 15 random fans were polled in the city of Milwaukee for this survey. This also is a dose of reality for the “Giannis is just a bulldozer” and “Giannis is a running back playing basketball” people who like to complain about Giannis’ style of play. Giannis receiving 11 of the 15 votes is also quite a slap in the face to Gilbert Arenas who made some disrespectful comments towards Giannis on his podcast recently.

When this poll was conducted last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant each had seven votes, however, after the Brooklyn Nets were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs after trading James Harden to the 76ers and now the swirling trade rumors, wanting of coaches to be fired and any other problems that will arise with the Nets, Durant didn’t garner a single vote.

One of the scouts surveyed highlighted Giannis’ two-way ability as his reason for selecting Giannis in the survey, saying:

"He’s healthy, you can put the ball in his hands or play off the ball as a screen-and-roll guy, and his defensive effectiveness."

The scout went on to say:

"Giannis’ will, the human, the winner, the mentality, the everyday effort, raising the effort of guys around him, it’s hard to top that."

It’s hard to disagree with anything said, and you won’t get any from Milwaukee Bucks fans, we’ve seen the transformation of Giannis, from raw teenage prospect, to most improved player, to MVP, All-Star MVP, Champion, Finals MVP. Bucks fans are well acquainted with Giannis’ post game antics, whether it be sharing dad jokes that he loves so much or even occasionally giving us food for thought by showing his emotional maturity.

When it comes down to it, there is always a debate, but you would be hard pressed to find a better player in the NBA right now than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Not to mention that Giannis is closing in on some more Milwaukee Bucks franchise records this season as well.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks: 3 Bold Predictions for Khris Middleton. dark

Stay tuned to Behind the Buck Pass as we analyze more of the survey questions from ESPN.