You’ve seen Giannis Antetokounmpo dribble the ball twice from coast to coast before launching into the air and dropping one of his dynamite dunks. You’ve witnessed him reject a layup and send it flying deep into the crowd while his opponent looks around in confusion. You’ve watched as he led the offense as a point forward and made magical behind the back passes, reigned down threes from behind the arc or climbed the ladder for an Alley Oop dunk. There is little doubt in anyone’s head that the “Freak” is the next superstar in the league.
He was very raw when he came into the league but has made very steady progress in each of his four seasons so far and should continue to improve over the next couple of years.
You may not have heard much about his teammate, Thon Maker, yet though. You know the Bucks drafted him over many less controversial big men but then what…?
Yes, you saw that right. That is a 7-foot rookie breaking ankles and splashing from the corner. He is long, tall and athletic like Kevin Garnett but has a game comparable to Dirk Nowitzki. His three point shot isn’t a rarity either and even averaging just a few minutes a game, he’s shown he can bury them in bunches.
Once Maker is ready to eat up consistent minutes in the starting lineup, Antetokounmpo should be a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate and by then these two should be ready to become constant contenders. They are both big men capable of playing small ball. It would be fascinating if Jason Kidd built a lineup with Maker as the shooting guard and Antetokounmpo as the point guard. It would be fun to watch these giant men dominate the perimeter.
The scary part is these guys are built like guards in power forwards bodies. They can cross you over, slash to the bucket, and posterize you in a very lonely, disheartening second. Both players have ridiculous raw talent that is still developing and could make them impossible to defend in the next few years.
Right now, Antetokounmpo is the veteran and has the flashy numbers as he continues to lead this team. The scary part, is Maker is taller, has a prettier shot, sicker handles and can still make his move to the top.
It’s hard to tell which one of them is better and maybe we won’t have to. Just like Kareem and Magic these two could be so dominant that we end up seeing them more as a single unit than two separate superstars.