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#pounditTuesday, January 18, 2022

Isaiah Thomas critical of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s passive defense

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo is drawing some criticism from one of his former competitors in the Eastern Conference.

Former All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas sent a tweet Tuesday bashing the Milwaukee Bucks star for his passive defense to start the team’s second-round series. Antetokounmpo, the newly-crowned Defensive Player of the Year, noticeably did not defend Miami Heat counterpart Jimmy Butler as Butler took over in the fourth to win Monday’s Game 1. After the game, Antetokounmpo was not pleased with a reporter who brought up the issue.

Thomas wrote that it was Antetokounmpo’s job to take that assignment as the leader and the DPOY. He said that players like Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Kawhi Leonard would have accepted the job.

Granted, Antetokounmpo has a big load to carry on offense as well, unlike the players Thomas mentioned (with the exception of Leonard). Taking the reporter’s bait might have also led to Antetokounmpo indicating doubt in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s defensive gameplan.

In any case, the Bucks need to make a big adjustment to get their series back on track. Antetokounmpo now very well may see more time checking Butler. He also now knows that the spotlight on him will be even more intense after his latest award.

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