Giannis Antetekounmpo’s stock is soaring
The chemistry between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard isn’t there yet. They are still figuring out how to use one another to gain advantages over the opposing defense. On the other end of the court, Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez are not comfortable in the more aggressive scheme new head coach Adrian Griffin has been trying to instill.
At the same time, it’s undeniable how well Antetokounmpo is playing as an individual superstar. He just dropped 54 points on the Indiana Pacers, going 16-for-18 from the free-throw line and scoring 19 2-point baskets, a dominant showing inside.
After an early exit from the playoffs last season, there were deserved questions about whether Antetokounmpo, a player who relied heavily on his athleticism, was losing a step as he approaches his 29th birthday. Thus far, he has silenced the doubters and has been physically dominant, with his highest block percentage in six seasons, and taking some of his midrange jumpers and moving them closer to the basket.
Antetokounmpo hasn’t been perfect, averaging the most turnovers since his rookie season and not elevating the defense to elite heights (more on that later), but physically he is whole. As he and Lillard grow more comfortable together, they should only help one another out all the more, and he and Lopez should settle into a better defensive rhythm as the season progresses.