Giannis Antetokoumpo has been on a rampage all season long, it’s been that way for the past 5 years as the Bucks have been flipping and flopping pieces around Giannis for quite some time now; but there comes a point where all good things have to come to an end and sometimes we just have to face the music in life; something Giannis will have to do rather sooner than later as decisions on possible extensions for core pieces Jrue Holiday,Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez will have to be made and handing out 3-4 year extensions to any of those 3 won’t be the wisest move as the Bucks look to field a competitive enough team around Giannis in order to keep him cooped up and satisfied in Milwaukee long-term. Middleton,Holiday,and Lopez can certainly help Giannis win at least one more championship together for at least this season and the following but there comes a time when certain things run their course and we are seeing that is ever evident with the Golden State Warriors who have kept their core 3 together for the longest and they just don’t have that powerhouse vibe to them any longer. They are no longer the team that can go on a 20-3 run on you in a matter of 3-4 minutes and make you believe you never had as much a chance as you actually thought you did, much like the Celtics experienced in last year’s NBA Finals.
So is it about more titles? Does Giannis Antetokoumpo want to get himself in the GOAT debate like few think he can if he can manage to win 5-6 rings by the time his career concludes? I’ve honestly never been a big fan of the guy, specially after he practically robbed LeBron of the 2020 MVP trophy but there is no denying the man has put together a resume worthy of a top 20 player all-time and if you are Giannis why wouldn’t you chase 2-3 more titles elsewhere? To prove to every delusional fan-base who feels a superstar sticking it out with one team is honorable? Hate to break it to ya but we are no longer in the 20th century, yes it was amazing to see former Laker legend Kobe Bryant stand ten toes down in Los Angeles for up to 20 years; and I didn’t have to be a fan of the guy to cringe at watching him play alongside a bunch of young pups like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle and the corpse of Carlos Boozer through the twilight years of his legendary career. I always felt Kobe Bryant chasing a 6th ring would’ve just been overkill, 5 rings had a nice ring to it for the Black Mamba and experiencing Kobe on the back-end of his career really showed me that even the most invincible warrior one day meets his day. Giannis? Barring injury I’d bank on him playing at an elite level for at least another 3-4 seasons beyond this one and I don’t see why he would just let all that high-level production go to waste specially considering the amount of talent he’s up against as the years prolong and 30 can’t get any closer for The Greek Freak.
Giannis has mentioned in the past he’d like to be revered someday like Spurs legend Tim Duncan, someone who played in the NBA for 15+ years,collected championships,MVP’s, and was a perennial all-star yet it’s like no one ever noticed or cared. Unfortunately Bucks General Manager Jon Horst does not have much leverage with what is around Giannis at the moment unlike Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford who was able to retool around Duncan continuously even after the retirement of long-time Spur David Robinson who retired in the early 2000’s before Timmy took the reins. Being able to draft 2 diamonds in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili late in the respective drafts they went in was Einstein like stuff by R.C. Buford, they were able to groom both overseas talents and once they hit their strides the rest was history much like it was for the Bulls in the 90’s once Pippen got past his continuous mental lapses in the playoffs. The Bucks unfortunately can’t follow that same model which is why there is already early chirping about Giannis possibly looking to consider his options in the future even if the word trade and Giannis don’t go together at the moment. A loss in the playoffs this season could open up the flood-gates this summer in Milwaukee putting an immense amount of pressure on the Bucks organization to retool around their prized superstar who is considered by many the best player in the NBA as we speak.
Watching the Portland Trailblazers demise at this very moment is a perfect example of why a superstar sometimes overstays his welcome. I’ve seen Damian Lillard pull off the biggest carry jobs in recent memory and he’s been loyal to the tea to the Portland Trailblazers; yet he is becoming a depreciating asset who isn’t getting any younger and their only hope of Dame ever being able to contend for a championship lies on young swing-man Cam Reddish finally fulfilling his potential at the NBA level which is something I remain optimistic about happening because of how he was misused in Atlanta and New York but then again it is a very tall order. Going back to the Bucks, there isn’t a player on that roster that I could point to and say ok, we can risk losing Middleton or Holiday and still compete for rings in the Giannis Antetokoumpo era because we’ve got this young prospect who is going to be a flat-out star. It’s really reminiscent to NBA legend Jerry West who once convinced Shaquille O’Neal on Kobe Bryant’s potential and they ended up winning 3 championships in 4 seasons and are arguably the best duo the league has ever seen. Although Giannis was vocal about his desire to model his career after Duncan’s, if he wants to put himself in discussion for being one one of the top 5-10 players of all-time he might have to leave Wisconsin and create history elsewhere.
Giannis is special, he’s got the heart of a lion and everyone who’s been following the Bucks all season could see all the chess moves Jon Horst has made from signing Joe Ingles in last year’s free-agency and also bringing over combo forward Jae Crowder who will sure to make the Bucks’s defensive attack even more potent with his athleticism and versatility and his timely 3-point shooting from all over the floor. Giannis took the NBA for a spin when we heard he might join forces with Luka in Dallas and his name was also brought up with Jimmy’s Heat were he also would have had just as good a chance to capture more titles. Giannis has held down the Bucks long enough, it’s been great to see a player of his magnitude don the Bucks’s Good Land Green and Cream City Cream for as long as he has and to also witness his rise to the top of the NBA but he’ll have to leave Milwaukee in order to carve out a legacy worth remembering before he officially calls it a career otherwise he’ll likely remain a top 15-20 player all-time and never crack the top 10. I’ll go out on a limb and predict the Bucks pivot away from Middleton and Holiday and bring Giannis new reinforcements via free-agency or trade if they bomb this season and the following because I just can’t see him dealing well with the pressure of playing a big market like New York or Los Angeles. As long as Jon Horst decides he wants to purposely lose his job and low-ball Giannis when it’s time to cut the check, he’ll retire a Buck and won’t ruin the NBA by joining Jokic,Embiid,or Luka along the way.