WARR contributor Josh Hicks offers his thoughts on the Chicago Bulls and the NBA
As the regular season is winding down in the NBA, we can reflect on many accomplishments that have taken place in an historical, once in a lifetime era of professional basketball.
Russell Westbrook passing Wilt Chamberlain’s record for having the second most triple-doubles in a season, and joining an elite club of athletes as he only players to record 70 triple-doubles in a career.
LeBron James becoming the first player ever in history to accumulate 25,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists for a career. And we cannot forget about Dirk Nowitzki joining the 30,000-point club and Vince Carter becoming the oldest player to make 5-plus 3-point field goals in a single game.
But on the low, one emerging superstar that has been making his own chapters in NBA history as of late has been Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is more than just a star in in a town thirsty for pro basketball excitement: he is their savior.
“The Greek Freak”was drafted by the Bucks with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Critics knew that this guy had a fair amount of potential – physically he stood out among his peers and he continues to – but no one would predict that this guy could be the ultimate savior of a dying franchise.
Floundering an era that was once defined by a former Bucks franchise player, current Wizards point guard Brandon Jennings, Wisconsin’s NBA team was heading in a downward spiral and it was time for the team to rebuild from the ground up.
With the addition of Jason Kidd and year to year acquisitions and lottery draft picks, the Bucks progressed slowly, but steps back also occured due to health reasons and unpredicted developments like the complete spacing out of Larry Sanders. It was difficult to for them to find a talent that they can trust and develop but also stay healthy. With Antetokounmpo, they have found a rare diamond in the ruff.
Antetokounmpo is truly a freak of nature. At 6’11 with a 7’4 wingspan, he has an all around game that is seemingly un-guardable. A first time all-star this season, Giannis is having a career year, leading his team in almost every category. The 2014 Rookie of the Year is currently averaging 23 points, two blocks, two steals, six assists and nine rebounds a game.
Although leading every team in every category is nice, his leadership brings more of a staple in keeping the Bucks together. When his teammate and predicted Scottie to his Michael, Simeon High School standout Jabari Parker, went down before the All-Star break due to a torn ACL, Antetokounmpo kept the team afloat by leading his team on the court in every category on the stat sheet offensively and defensively.
As a matter of fact, Milwaukee is actually in the playoff race, currently sitting in the seventh spot in the Eastern conference with 16 games to go.
The Freak from Greece has a lot of potential in taking the Bucks to the next level from a player and leadership standpoint. He has proven that he is ready to take on that role as the face of a franchise. With this historical season, as long as the Bucks strive to put more talent around him, they have a chance to really make some noise in the upcoming seasons.
Joshua M. Hicks is a sports writer and broadcaster and a recent graduate of Roosevelt University, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042