Sixteen games does not a season make, but if the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo continues with his play that has highlighted the start of the 2016-17 season, he could be well on his way to getting people to forget he’s that player with the difficult name and instead, he’ll be known as one of the young superstars in the NBA.
“The Greek Freak” on Tuesday, Nov. 29 played 34 minutes and scored 34 points with 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocked shots against the World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the Bucks 118-101 win. While many NBA fans and pundits are drooling over the outlandish numbers Russell Westbrook has been putting up for the Oklahoma City Thunder (30.9 points per game, 10.3 rebounds per game, and 11.3 assists per game), Antetokounmpo has been not-so-quietly putting up numbers that are pretty rare in NBA circles. In fact, if he stays on pace, he could produce one of the most incredible statistical seasons in league history.
After 16 games this season, G.A. is averaging 22.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.1 blocked shots per game. He is one of only three players who currently are averaging 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game (the others are the aforementioned Westbrook and LeBron James). There have been 36 times in league history that a player went 22-8-5 in those categories.
While that stat is impressive, if you add in two defensive stats to the three offensive stats we noted (points, rebounds and assists) you’ll see G.A. is taking his game to another level.
Consider this: There have been only three players in NBA history to average 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals per game in a season… Scottie Pippen (1993-94), Michael Jordan (1988-89) and Larry Bird (1985-86). G.A. would become the fourth member of this group if he maintains his stats.
But wait, there’s more. Add in two blocked shots per game. No player has ever averaged 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots in an NBA season. Those are numbers that G.A. is carrying 16 games into this season.
Can “The Greek Freak” maintain these numbers? That’s the key question. If he does, he is setting himself up for a season that will go unmatched in league history.