Scottie Pippen sees a flaw in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game holding him back.
On Da Windy City Podcast with FanSided‘s Mark Carman, the Hall-of-Famer and six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls believes that Antetokounmpo’s lack of offensive versatility will continue to hold the Milwaukee Bucks back from winning their first NBA Finals since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson were their star players back in 1971.
“No, not yet, I don’t think so,” said Pippen to Carman when asked if he has what it takes to win a title. “But I haven’t seen him for a while and from what I hear, he’s been working on his jump shot. But I don’t think so. In terms of where they left off, I don’t think he’s really got it there yet.
“When you talk about winning a title, when you talk about playing in the NBA Finals, when you talk about making big shots with seconds on the clock and being able to take those shots with confidence, I just don’t see him being ready right now for that.
“I know that he’s made some great strides. He is still one of the top players in the game, but in terms of his outside play, he’s not ready to carry his team to a title.”
Can Giannis Antetokounmpo evolve enough offensively to become a champion?
The good news for the Bucks is Antetokounmpo is still in his mid-20s. He’s already a four-time NBA All-Star, won his first NBA MVP and is the best player in the Eastern Conference, although one Brooklyn Net who is hurt right now would likely beg to differ. Antetokounmpo may be hitting unrestricted free agency next summer, but Milwaukee is home for him, so he may stay.
What we have to remember here is Pippen’s Chicago teammate Michael Jordan, who Pippen told Carman he doesn’t have beef with over how he was portrayed on ESPN’s The Last Dance, didn’t win an NBA championship until 1991, seven years after he was drafted out of the University of North Carolina as a junior. Antetokounmpo didn’t play college ball in the United States.
As Pippen would go onto say in his interview with Carman, teams will continue to force Antetokounmpo to beat them with his jump shot in crunch time of major playoff games. Until he proves he’s an adept jump shooter in clutch situations, it will be an offensive liability the best player on the Bucks will have to find a way to overcome.
Pippen must see Antetokounmpo’s offensive game evolve before he’ll crown him as a champion, though we’ll just have to see whether that holds true come playoff time.
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