Tuesday September 13th, 2016

Antetokounmpo raised his game across the board in Year Three, especially after the 2016 All-Star break. With the disappointing Bucks headed for the lottery, Antetokounmpo (16.9 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 4.3 APG) stepped into a new point guard role, dramatically upping his usage and assist rate while doing well to keep his turnovers in check. The individual results, as irrelevant to the standings as they might have been, were stunning: the 21-year-old Antetokounmpo averaged 19/9/7 after the break, monster numbers that bring to mind elite producers like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. Viewed as a raw prospect when he was taken in the 2013 lottery, Antetokounmpo showed improvement as a pick-and-roll initiator and converted transition opportunities into points like a seasoned pro. Although it was a brave and somewhat unorthodox decision, putting Antetokounmpo at the point made sense because it played to his preference for attacking. As a secondary benefit, the move also helped cover up his limited progress as an outside shooter by preventing him from cramping up the court from the wing. Defensively, his raw stats and end-to-end highlights outpace his impact numbers, as neither Synergy Sports nor Real Plus Minus looked all that favorably on his work at that end. The Bucks, meanwhile, were better defensively when he was on the bench last season. Nevertheless, Antetokounmpo’s leap forward as a playmaker stands as a critical milestone on his track to stardom. There’s little doubt he has even more excitement in store this season. (Last year: No. 100)

+ Best age-21 comparison point (17/7/4, 7.1 Win Shares): Lamar Odom (17/8/5, 6.5 WS)
+ One of nine to average at least one block and one steal last year (five of eight were All-Stars)
Fourth-worst three-point percentage (25.7%​) among players with at least 100 attempts
Shot just 24.3% and ranked in the fifth percentile in unguarded catch-and-shoot situations (per Synergy)

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