Despite all the criticism that he has received the past few years for being fraudulent MVP or DPOY because he couldn’t perform in the playoffs, Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is now an NBA Champion. It was not that long ago when analysts like Richard Jefferson were saying that Giannis was a Pippen who needed to play alongside a MIchael Jordan in order for him to be able to win a championship. But these 2021 NBA Playoffs have proved that Giannis is MORE than capable of leading a team to a championship and any notion that Giannis wasn’t deserving of his awards has been tossed out the window. Throughout the 2021 Playoffs Giannis’s co-stars Jrue Holiday, and Khris MIddleton had games where they just couldn’t seem to get going. But the one constant about the Bucks was Giannis showing up to play every night. and in a closeout game 6 where Giannis finished with 50 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, 17/19 free throws, Giannis has proved to everyone that he is an incredible playoff performer and that he is not afraid of the biggest stage of basketball.
There has also been talk during this season about Giannis not being a skilled basketball player because he doesn’t have amazing handles and he isn’t a great jump-shooter. But it seems pretty evident to me that Giannis is one of the most skilled big men to ever play the game of basketball. Because looking back at NBA history, how many players 6’10 and above have been able to drive coast to coast like Giannis while also having great post moves and passing abilities in their arsenal? The only other player who comes to mind is Kevin Durant. And if it were that easy to do what Giannis is doing strictly because of his height, why aren’t the other 7 foot big men able to replicate Giannis’s moves? This championship run was great to watch as just a pure basketball fan because Antetokounmpo was able to shut up all the haters who used his flaws to discredit his dominance. And his Shaq-like performance proved to everyone that you don’t have to have Kyrie-like handles, or a Harden-like step-back, or a Curry-like jump-shot to lead a team to an NBA championship.
And now at just 26 years old, Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is now a 2x MVP, DPOY, NBA champion, Finals MVP, 5x Allstar, 4x All-NBA Defensive Team selection and 5x All-NBA team selection. So what’s next? The Bucks have fortunately locked up the Giannis, Middleton, Holiday trio for the next several years so they will be looking to build on this Finals win to repeat and become an NBA Dynasty. But as for Giannis, he has now accomplished everything that you can ask for from an MVP caliber, future-HOF talent. So now it will just be a matter of where he finishes his career because he is certainly on the way to being a top 10 maybe even top 5 player of all time. And he unquestionably has a case for being a 25 player of all time at the moment, considering all he’s accomplished at his age.
I hope that other NBA fans are just as excite as I am to see what the future holds for the Greek Freak because it feels like we are very lucky to be able to witness this sort of generational talent with our own eyes.
It’s no secret to NBA fans all over how disappointing Ben Simmons has been, 4 years into his career. Which is ironic to say because in these four years, Simmons is a 3x All-Star, 2x All-Defensive First Team selection, ROTY, Steals Leader, and a 1x All-NBA Third Team selection. But despite all these accolades Simmons is one of the most disappointing #1 overall picks in recent history. One of the reasons that NBA fans find Simmons to be such a let-down is the fact that he has all the tools to take skill jump. Simmons does almost everything well on the court. He is a great passer, rebounder, defender, and finisher. But his lack of shooting ability and passiveness on the court often negate all the other good things he does on the court. In fact, during the 2021 playoffs, Simmons shot 34% from the free throw line, which was the worst percentage from any NBA player EVER in the playoffs (at least 70 attempts.) Additionally he averaged only 11 points per game throughout the entire playoffs which is so upsetting because we know what he is capable of. Simmons is the same guy who dropped a 42 point career high against the Utah Jazz earlier this season. And what made that even more impressive was the fact that Simmons, a guy who scores almost all of his points in the paint, did that against the best rim protector in the NBA, aka the 2021 DPOY, Rudy Gobert. But unfortunately, that was not the Simmons that showed up during the NBA playoffs. And sadly for Sixers fans, despite Embiid’s incredible MVP caliber season and performance during the ECF (despite a torn meniscus) the Sixers were sent home due to the lack of help that Embiid received throughout the series.
So where do the Sixers go from now? Well, firstly they are going to have to trade Simmons. At this point, it is more than evident that the Embiid and Simmons experiment is not working out. Embiid is the type of player who needs to partnered with another Harden/Beal/Lavine-esque player who can create his own shot and be an elite scorer. And although many people think that giving up Simmons for one of these guys would weaken the team’s defense. But at this point that should not be a concern. The Sixers should look to get their Shaq (Embiid) his Kobe. Because with the ongoing injury concerns of Embiid, they are going to need another closer and efficient bucket getter who can carry the load when Embiid has an off-night. With all due respect to Tobias Harris of course. I think Daryl Morey certainly has his work cutout for him as he does have a history of making the necessary trades to please his leading man like he did with Harden in Houston. And although he may have fumbled by not trading Simmons for Harden while Simmons’ value was still high, he can still redeem himself this offseason by pulling off a trade to get Embiid some more help.
As for now, Simmons needs to lock himself in the gym and practice jumpers and free throws until his arms fall off because as long as he is on that team, they will not be able to reach their maximum potential until he improves his shot. Stay tuned to our site for future articles in which we discuss potential Ben Simmons trade.
Hey all. I am “The Hoop Fanatic” and I am a die hard Cleveland Cavaliers fan. I made the blog “Real Hoop Fanatics” to engage in discourse with other Cavs and NBA fans so feel free to check out our articles and leave comments while also keeping respectful with the discourse. Thanks.