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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo damages sign in frustration at halftime

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo was frustrated with his team’s performance during the first half of Sunday’s game and took it out on a blockade.

The Milwaukee Bucks went into the locker room trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder 56-50 at halftime. It seems that half of play didn’t sit well with the Bucks star, who reportedly kicked a hole in this sign at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Perhaps the frustration felt by Antetokounmpo reverberated throughout Milwaukee’s locker room, because they came out and outscored the Thunder 37-24 in the third quarter.

This sort of thing is nothing unusual, as we’ve seen plenty of other star athletes do it in the past. The important thing is to avoid injury while blowing off steam — and to buy a replacement item, which we’re guessing the Bucks will do.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had hilarious quote about crooked rim

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo offered a hilarious quote on Monday night about a crooked rim in his Milwaukee Bucks’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

The start of the game at Target Center was delayed by nearly an hour due to a crooked rim that was noticed before tipoff. Antetokounmpo was asked after the game whether he had noticed the crooked rim and offered a humorous response.

Of course, Giannis is just joking. He went 14/19 with 34 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in the Bucks’ 134-106 win. He’s shooting 61.1 percent from the field this season. Not making shots would be more of a surprise the way he is going than making them.

Giannis Antetokounmpo getting shooting tips from new teammate Kyle Korver

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s below-average jumper is probably the only thing preventing it from being “game over” for the rest of the league, but now one of his new teammates could be ensuring our imminent doom.

At the team’s first day of training camp on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks star said that he has been getting shooting tips from Kyle Korver.

“It’s really important [that] I always try to talk to him a little bit,” said Antetokounmpo of Korver, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “And he’s a great guy. He’s not trying to get in your head or overstep and talk too much to you.

“Whenever he gives me tips, I always try to listen … one of the best shooters to ever play the game,” Antetokounmpo added. “He’s definitely going to help this team, definitely going to help a lot of players develop their shooting ability.”

Korver, who signed with the Bucks this summer, is one of the top shooters in NBA history — he went 39.7 percent from deep as a 37-year-old last season and is at 42.9 percent on three-point attempts for his 16-year career.

Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, won league MVP this season with 27.7 points per game on 57.8 percent from the field despite connecting on just 25.6 percent of his three-point tries. From the looks of it, Korver just might be the sensei who helps Antetokounmpo get to his much-ballyhooed final form.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Talking about my contract is ‘disrespectful’ to teammates

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future has been a hot topic since the moment the Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs last season, and the reigning NBA MVP does not want to keep discussing it.

Ahead of the beginning of Milwaukee Bucks training camp, Antetokounmpo addressed his contract status with reporters. He said the subject was not something he wanted to keep talking about, saying it is disrespectful to his teammates.

“I feel like if you have a great team, and our goal is to win a championship and be the last team standing and get better each day, I think it’s disrespectful towards my teammates talking about my free agency and what I’m going through,” Antetokounmpo said, via ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “So when the time is right, we’re all gonna talk about it. I don’t think the time is right.”

He’s right that it’s a distraction and not something helpful to his goal of team-building. A report when the Bucks were eliminated said Giannis wants to make the NBA Finals before signing a long-term extension with Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a massive five-year, $253.3 million extension next year. The Bucks want to see nothing more than Antetokounmpo sign with them long-term; he’s critical to their championship hopes.

Bucks fined $50K for comments about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s contract

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks have every intention of paying Giannis Antetokounmpo as much money as they possibly can to convince him to finish his career with the team, but apparently they are not allowed to say that publicly.

On Tuesday, the NBA announced that the Bucks have been fined $50,000 for comments general manager John Hurst made about the team’s plan to offer Giannis a super-max contract extension next summer. NBA rules state that they are not allowed to talk publicly about that yet, even though Antetokounmpo is their own player.

That seems a bit absurd.

The NBA recently took steps toward penalizing teams more severely if they are found guilty of tampering, but tampering almost always involves talking about a player who is under contract with another team. Giannis is one of the best players in the NBA, and contract rules are designed to give the Bucks the advantage in re-signing him before or when he becomes a free agent. They shouldn’t be fined for stating the obvious.

For what it’s worth, Giannis has hinted that he may accept the insane max extension the Bucks will be eligible to offer him after next season.

James Harden still annoyed with media over selection of Giannis for MVP

James Harden

James Harden still seems a little annoyed with the media over their selection of Giannis Antetokounmpo for NBA MVP.

Harden came in second in MVP voting last season, receiving 23 percent of first-place votes, compared to 78 percent for Antetokounmpo, who won it. In August, Harden appeared on 97.9 The Box in Houston and said he felt a media-driven narrative helped propel Giannis to the award.

During an interview with GQ to promote his new shoe that was published on Thursday, Harden was asked those comments and whether a narrative has already been constructed entering the upcoming season.

“Nah, it hasn’t happened yet, it’s too early. Wait until the preseason and when the regular season starts up again. But they [the media] for sure got some teams they locked in on. We all know. That’s just what it is. You can’t tell me that a guy whose team was a 14-seed at one point last year, and ended up a four-seed with everything that was going on—so many injuries—and who went on a 32-game 30-point streak, eight 50-point games, two 60-point games in one season…and all the talk was about [Giannis Antetokounmpo]? There’s no way,” Harden told GQ.

“I just had to look at what I could do to get better for next year. You can’t pout or be mad, and the kid had an unbelievable season, so did his team. But the things I was putting up were legendary. You going to look back in 10, 15 years from now and be like, is that really true? Did that really happen? That’s some stuff they were doing back when Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and all those other guys were playing. But I’m happy. We have a team goal of winning a championship, and I’m ready to get going now.”

Harden averaged 36.1 points per game last season, which was the 7th-highest amount ever — behind only guys like Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan. However, Harden won MVP the year before, so he could be right that the media wanted to see some variety and focused on Antetokounmpo for the award instead. The other big factor is that Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks were the top team in the East, whereas Houston began the season poorly. Their respective records likely had a big role in the voting.

These comments may get some attention, but they’re nothing compared to what Houston’s GM said this summer about Harden.

Teammate Brook Lopez says Giannis Antetokounmpo has another level to reach

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo has already accomplished some things on the basketball court that the overwhelming majority of NBA players could only dream of, but the reigning NBA MVP still feels he has not come close to reaching his full potential. Veteran teammate Brook Lopez agrees.

After he took home the NBA MVP Award last month, Antetokounmpo said he believes he has only accomplished 60 percent of what he is capable of. When asked about that comment in a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Lopez said he sees it the same way.

“I mean, it’s crazy that with the level he’s at now, he still has another level or two to go in his game,” Lopez said. “He could become a way better player than he is now, which has got to be a scary thought for the entire league.”

Giannis averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game last season. He’s virtually unstoppable when he’s on his game, and there are few players in NBA history who are or were more explosive going to the basket. Despite that, he seems to do a great job of keeping himself grounded and always wanting more. Remember, this is the same player who asked Bucks fans to stop calling him the MVP even after he won the award.

Antetokounmpo is just 24, so his best years could very well be ahead. He’s made it clear what his No. 1 goal is, and it has nothing to do with taking home more MVP hardware. If Giannis is only at 60 percent now, we can’t wait to see him at 100.