Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo heads to the Olympics, where 'Group of Death' awaits

The two-time MVP's was emotional after helping Greece earn a spot in Paris.

The final Olympic Qualifiers took place over the weekend, with Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo leading Greece to wins over Slovenia and Croatia. He's now heading to Paris for a shot at an Olympic medal.

Milwaukee's season was derailed following Giannis' strained soleus back in April, but his return to the court with Greece has been almost perfect. An easy 32 points against the Dominican Republic marked his return, and he followed it up with two more stellar outings against tough opponents.

A 96-68 point win over Slovenia was backed up by an 80-69 win over Croatia to qualify Greece for their first Olympic games in 16 years. His performances earned him another MVP award in the form of the TISSOT MVP at FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024 Greece. This also meant he was named to the Greece All-Star Five alongside Chris Duarte, Luka Doncic, Ivica Zubac and his Greek teammate Nick Calathes.

Giannis leads Greece to the Olympics, but tall task awaits

The conversation now revolves around whether Giannis will be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony in Paris. For any athlete, it is a huge honor, and it just goes to show how big of an impact he has had in Greece and the basketball in the country.

His brother Kostas has been a part of the National Team, with his older brother Thanasis and mother in the stands cheering them on in every game. With this round of qualifying taking place in Greece, the Peace and Friendship Stadium was bouncing every time Giannis Antetokounmpo had the ball.

On Saturday, July 6, Greece had the tough task of stopping Doncic and Slovenia. It is always difficult to stop Doncic, but they did well in slowing him down, holding him to 21 points in 34 minutes with just five assists and 10 turnovers. Greece only needed Giannis for 20 minutes, in which he scored 13 points on 50 percent shooting, adding in four rebounds, two assists, a block and a +/- of +31.

This victory set up a winner-takes-all clash with Croatia and Zubac having a monster tournament. The LA Clipper scored 19 points and registered 12 rebounds but ended up on the losing side. Giannis led Greece in scoring with 23 points and eight rebounds on 47 percent shooting. He capped off the performance by hitting a three over Zubac to seal his nation's spot in Paris.

With the Olympic groups now set, Greece head into what is being labelled as the 'Group of Death.' They will take on Canada, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, on July 27, followed by a meeting with Spain on July 30, and their final group game being against former Bucks Matthew Dellavedova and Joe Ingles as they face Australia on August 2nd.

It will be a tough group with all of the NBA and EuroLeague talent throughout the rosters. Canada is one of the favorites to go deep and place in the medals, but Spain and Australia have consistently shown in both the Olympics and the Basketball World Cup that they are capable of beating anyone.

Giannis and Greece can beat any of the teams in the group, and it will make for a fascinating set of games with some of the world's best going toe-to-toe.

There are three groups, with the top two of each going through to the quarter-finals, with the two best second-placed teams also progressing to the final eight.

The Bucks are in action in the NBA Summer League on Saturday, July 13, in Las Vegas, where we will get to see the first glimpses of what AJ Johnson and Tyler Smith can bring to the roster. Summer League finishes on July 22. Five days later, we will get to see what Giannis can do against Canada.

Make sure to stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis over the off-season.