You have certainly already seen the new takes pouring in. Giannis cannot win within the playoffs. Giannis chokes within the clutch. Giannis is a Scottie Pippen who needs a Michael Jordan.

Giannis Antetokounmpo would not should be mounted, as a result of he is not damaged. Anybody who’s about to win back-to-back NBA MVPs and grow to be solely the third participant to win MVP and Defensive Participant of the 12 months in the identical season is doing simply high quality. Giannis can proceed on his present trajectory and wind up a first-ballot Corridor of Famer, probably a top-15 participant of all-time.

However dealing with a 3-0 deficit in opposition to the Miami Warmth after an unceremonious exit final postseason, it is solely pure to surprise what changes the Greek Freak could make to get his group, and himself, over the hump. Sure, he is solely 25 years outdated, however these of us who carefully observe this league know the way shortly home windows can disappear. Milwaukee has a supporting solid stuffed with end-of-prime or post-prime veterans like Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and Wesley Matthews — what number of actually efficient years do these gamers have left?

With Antetokounmpo’s potential free company hovering like an alien spacecraft over the town of Milwaukee, the time to strike is now. The query is, what can a participant who’s already this nice do to enhance?

The obtrusive, ubiquitous reply is his bounce shot. Whereas steadily getting higher, there’s nothing to point that Antetokounmpo will ever grow to be a mean 3-point shooter, not to mention a proficient one. Even when he does, there is no purpose to consider it is going to make defenses change their strategy to guarding him.

“If we’re going to run on the market on these [3-pointers] and let him get to the rim, that could be a 100% shot,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated of Giannis earlier than a January recreation in opposition to the Bucks. “So we’ll stay with the 33 p.c for now and see the place that goes.”

Within the 28 video games after Kerr’s remark, Antetokounmpo shot 27 p.c from 3-point vary, and noticed his season proportion decline from 33 to 30. This postseason he is taking pictures 31 p.c, together with 2-for-13 within the three losses to the Warmth. Basically, groups will proceed backing off and daring him to shoot 3-pointers for the foreseeable future.

So an improved bounce shot most likely is not the almost certainly manner that Giannis takes the following step. A extra reasonable and tenable strategy, nonetheless, is to take a cue from LeBron James and Kobe Bryant earlier than him and work on his post-up recreation.

Antetokounmpo initiates a whole lot of his half-court offense by making an attempt to get a head of steam from past the 3-point line and powering his manner into the lane. As we have seen, nonetheless, these avenues are inclined to shrink and disappear within the playoffs as groups create a wall and cargo up the paint to forestall penetration. Presently missing a go-to transfer like a pull-up mid-range jumper or a step-back, a whole lot of Giannis’ strengths have been rendered futile within the postseason.

That is why going to the submit extra is smart. This postseason he is posted up on simply 7.8 p.c of possessions, in keeping with Synergy Sports activities Expertise. Final postseason it was 5.7 p.c. Perhaps as an alternative of making an attempt to provoke offense from the 3-point line, he ought to stay on the block and within the excessive submit.

Perhaps as an alternative of making an attempt to be LeBron or Kawhi within the halfcourt, he ought to be Shaq.

With a purpose to do this, although, he wants to reinforce his post-up recreation. As dominant as Antetokounmpo is within the paint (within the 92nd percentile at 1.415 factors per possession across the rim, per Synergy), he typically will get there in transition or by attacking from the perimeter. His post-up effectivity has been a lot much less spectacular. In the course of the 2019-20 common season, he was within the 52nd percentile on post-up scoring alternatives at 0.921 factors per possession, per Synergy.

On this playoff run, which is quickly nearing an finish, that has dropped to an abysmal 0.471 factors per possession — actually the worst effectivity of any participant with no less than 10 post-up possessions this postseason. It is a jarring discrepancy in comparison with different star gamers who’ve an analogous proportion of post-ups per recreation: Kawhi Leonard (1.231 PPP), Anthony Davis (1.067 PPP), James (1 PPP) and Bam Adebayo (1 PPP).

LeBron misplaced the 2011 NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, and sought out Corridor of Famer and inventor of the “Dream Shake,” Hakeem Olajuwon, to work on his submit recreation later that summer season. Whereas that is not the one purpose he received his first NBA title the next yr, it added one other dimension to his recreation that he might summon when he wanted to make a play. Equally, Bryant labored with Olajuwon in 2009 to shore up his submit arsenal, which allowed him to be an efficient scorer deep into his profession.

“My first half-hour working collectively, he knew I understood what he was saying,” Bryant stated of working with Olajuwon. “It was the smallest particulars of issues. From that, I received quite a bit out of it.”  

If you watch Antetokounmpo work within the submit, it is clear that he may gain advantage from specializing in these small particulars.

Predictability

Giannis has a few pet strikes, however the issue is the protection begins to catch onto them fairly shortly. We have all seen his devastating spin transfer, however he typically pulls that out in transition or on drives. Within the submit, he is developed a baseline fadeaway spinning away from the double-team. It appears nice when it goes in, however defenses shortly learn it and contest it properly.

Together with his measurement and excessive launch, this shot can be unstoppable if he ever perfects it, and there is purpose to consider he’ll get higher at it. However there are additionally a couple of comparatively easy issues that he can do to maintain defenders from studying his strikes so simply, in the end making the shot simpler.

Pump fakes

If you undergo his movie, it is fairly exceptional how sometimes Giannis makes use of pump fakes. Notably on that baseline fadeaway, he might preserve his defender off stability and draw much more fouls by merely throwing up a faux each now and again. This is an instance of how LeBron, who turned proficient on the fadeaway, used pump fakes to diversify his submit recreation.

It requires stable footwork to keep away from touring, however it looks like one thing Antetokounmpo might make the most of with relative ease if he places within the work.

Head and shoulder fakes

When Giannis makes his thoughts as much as go to the basket out of the submit, it is typically a straight line with little misdirection. Defenses are inclined to beat him to the spot, which results in a whole lot of offensive fouls.

Now, have a look at LeBron from that 2012 postseason. He hardly ever makes a transfer with out giving no less than one head and shoulder faux to freeze the defender for a break up second.

It is delicate, however only a fast faux to get Danny Granger leaning to his proper opens up the driving lane for James. Olajuwon devoted a big chunk of his lesson with Bryant to an analogous sort of pretend, this one along with his again to the basket moderately than dealing with up, beginning on the 30-second mark of this video.

This turned a staple of Bryant’s post-up recreation, and you may nonetheless see LeBron doing it on a near-nightly foundation. Giannis possesses the power, quickness and agility to get to the basket, however a primary head and shoulder faux earlier than venturing into the lane or going into his fadeaway might do wonders for him.

Soar hooks

You hardly ever see Antetokounmpo shoot a bounce hook, and given his peak and size it could possibly be a particularly efficient shot for him. Right here, when Giannis will get into the paint in opposition to the smaller Dorian Finney-Smith, he swings his arms by way of for an everyday bounce shot and will get fouled (no assure of factors given the best way he shoots from the road). Had he gone with a bounce hook, he would have gotten it off cleanly and maybe drawn an and-one.

Once more we distinction with 2012 LeBron, who used the bounce hook to his benefit very often within the lane. It helps him create area to get the shot off even when the defender is correct in entrance of him.

These are all strategies Antetekounmpo can work on within the offseason, and we definitely know he is keen to work. As soon as he is extra snug with submit scoring, his submit passing ought to observe swimsuit. If you embody passes, Antetokounmpo is final amongst playoff performers this postseason with no less than 20 post-up possessions at 0.759 factors per possession, in keeping with Synergy. It is a tiny pattern measurement, however final postseason he had comparable struggles, averaging 0.857 factors per possession within the submit, together with passes, in 15 video games.

We won’t ask Giannis to be LeBron when it comes to his playmaking from the submit — no person is — however an improved scoring bundle mixed with extra reps ought to result in extra confidence, faster choices and fewer turnovers when making an attempt to move out of double groups.

We clearly do not know their private conditions, however plainly Olajuwon could be a fantastic place for Antetokounmpo to start out. Not solely has The Dream beforehand labored with James and Bryant, however he additionally has expressed a big curiosity within the profession of Antetokounmpo, a fellow Nigerian. He even frolicked with Giannis on a visit to Africa in 2015.

“I do know from his final title that we’re from the identical tribe, the Yoruba tribe,” Olajuwon advised The Undefeated. “His final title, which in Yoruba is spelled Adetokunbo, means ‘the crown has returned from abroad.’ “

The final two postseasons have confirmed that Antetekounmpo nonetheless has work to do if he will lead the Bucks to a title. The crown he hopes to in the future put on because the NBA’s finest participant is inside his attain, and dealing on his submit recreation could be one of the best ways for him to grab it.

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