NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo matches a legend as he ascends among elites

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks could be dangerous in the playoffs.

Some people master their craft at a very young age. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of those people.

The 6-11 point guard/small forward recorded the eighth triple-double of his young career Monday in an 89-79 win against the Hornets.

It wasn't the most glamorous triple-double of all time — 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists — but it was good enough to tie Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most in Bucks history.

Antetokounmpo, 22, who made his first All-Star team this season, has ascended close to the game's elite while showcasing his ability to impact a game in a variety of ways. Longevity isn't yet on his side, but the silky "Greek Freak" certainly caught everyone's attention this season while leading the Bucks to the playoffs.

Many counted the Bucks out when Jabari Parker went down with another severe knee injury in February. Antetokounmpo, however, was not going to be deterred so easily.

The Bucks went 14-4 in March to climb back into playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Teams like the Pistons and Hornets scuttled down the stretch, which allowed Milwaukee an opportunity move up in the standings.

Antetokounmpo's offensive game has blossomed this season. He went from an exciting, yet raw athlete, to an all-around threat that can now score on the block, pull up for a mid-range jumper or hit 3-pointers.

While his scoring is eye-catching, Antetokounmpo's most impressive offensive attribute his is ball-handling. Few at his size can manoeuvre though traffic in open space well enough to pick out a key pass. But that the strength of Antetokounmpo's game.

It's hard to give him a true position. Sometimes he plays centre using his long arms to drain hook shots over slower big men. While other times, he runs the show like a point guard, directing traffic and dishing out dimes like he's Jason Kidd.

Kidd, of course, gets to see Antetokounmpo every day as Bucks head coach. After developing his own reputation as one of the best passers in NBA history, Kidd is now teaching a new era of players how to see the court the way he did.

So far Kidd's presence is working on Antetokounmpo, who's assist totals have steadily increased in each of his four NBA seasons.

It wouldn't be a shock to see Antetokounmpo average a triple-double — like Russell Westbrook did this year — for an entire season at some point during his career.


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While that might be a few years away, if it happens at all, Antetokounmpo will be one of the most intriguing players in the league over the next few seasons.

Considering the NBA's propensity to build super teams, Antetokounmpo may find himself on a championship-contending squad either in Milwaukee or somewhere else very soon as other players flock to his side.

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