Celebrating Giannis’ Journey So Far as a Buck
Hi Bucks’ fans! Welcome to the all-time top Bucks’ draft picks, power ranked by the fan’s yourselves. We are counting down all the way from #12 to #1, and today we are moving on to the only active player on this list, and someone who could wind up being the unquestioned best if you look 10 years from now, the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks out of Greece. According to basketball reference, and also one of the (seemingly) most obvious statements of all-time, Giannis is the best player from his draft class based on win-shares and many other metrics. Aside from Rudy Gobert, Giannis runs away with being the best (and that’s just counting win-shares).
Already in his career, Giannis is an NBA Champion and Finals MVP, holds the record for most points in a closeout Finals game, and is the current leader in many Bucks’ all-time categories. He is the 2019 and 2020 MVP, a six-time All-Star, 4x All-NBA first team, 2x second team (all consistently since 2017). He was Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, and made his share of All Defense teams. He also won Most Improved Player in 2017, and is the youngest player on the 75th Anniversary team for the NBA. He has a similarity score to that of Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady.
Giannis is going to go down as the Greatest Buck of all-time. That isn’t what this is, though. It’s about which players the Bucks technically drafted had the best careers, and despite all of what Giannis has accomplished in nine seasons, he still has a long way to go to catch the players at the top, but I do have him ahead of a few Hall of Famers already on my personal list. He’s not even thirty yet, so he will get there assuming health.
With that said, Giannis is the reason many of us are excited about Bucks’ basketball again. He was a part of the team in perhaps our worst season in franchise history, and has slowly built his way up into the dominating player he is today while the Bucks have grown with him. Gone are the days when we are the place nobody wanted to be. Giannis changed that. Gone are the days when we were a laughingstock in the association (Sacramento, Charlotte, etc. as well), and I was nicknaming them the “Sucks”, because those days with Charlie Villanueva and Drew Gooden are gone.
Giannis is why we are back to having fun basketball like we did in the 80‘s and early 2000‘s. Giannis saved this franchise, he is the one who built Fiserv Forum. There is no disputing this, and I won’t bash Giannis, but he hasn’t had the time that other NBA careers have had to do more.
There are some great players ahead of Giannis still and he will be hard pressed to catch the greatest, it can be done but it’s difficult. Giannis will pass some of them, eventually and without a doubt, he just needs more time to do so. But when it comes to the best, that’s very hard to overcome. Such as former Buck, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who is on the NBA Mount Rushmore. It took Giannis more seasons to break some of his Bucks’ records that lasted for decades, and while Giannis will blow them away, it’s still impressive. In my opinion, he will need to become a top three all-time player, or close to it, to catch Kareem. All I’m saying is to be remembered in the history books with the likes of Wilt and Kareem and LeBron, he just needs to keep at it. That’s it. But he needs a larger resume.
His legacy is being the player who brought back the Bucks from the dead. We had just had that weird Monta Ellis-Brandon Jennings season, and after letting both of them go, we became a bad team. Giannis’s development is basically on par with how the Bucks improved. He brought us back to the second round of the playoffs, and the Conference Finals, and then in 2021, he finally brought us that long-awaited title.
For all that other Wisconsin MVP’s like Aaron Rodgers and Christian Yelich have done, they didn’t bring us a title since Giannis has been in the NBA. He ended a 50-year drought for the city of Milwaukee, and has restored the fan base that was silent for 15 years (I was in the Bradley Center and saw the lack of crowd there numerous times). He will go down as the best Buck ever, if he hasn’t already passed Sidney Moncrief (I say he has, but 1-2 more years will do it for sure).
There you have it, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The voting is closed, don’t forget to check out the rest of the series as well as Julie’s personal rankings coming out after the series concludes. Stay tuned, and comment below!