Giannis Antetokounmpo

USA Today

MVP

The Era of Giannis is coming closer and closer.

April 23, 2019 - 10:01 am
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Milwaukee beat Detroit 127-104 last night to finish the sweep and win their first playoff series since 2001. But if that was your takeaway from last night, you missed the point. Yeah, it’s great that Milwaukee is moving on. And they handled their business like pros. When you’re up 3-0 on a team, you finish them. And there’s nothing more clinical than beating a team by 23 in their own house to end the series.

But last night wasn’t about that. Last night was about one thing and one thing only: Giannis.

41 points
9 rebounds
4 blocks

But it’s not about his stat line.

And not about him as the league MVP, which he probably will be this year.

This is bigger than that. This is about Giannis taking over as the best player in the league.

Now, let me say this: There’s a difference between the MVP and the best player in the league. LeBron is a 4-time MVP, but he’s been the best player in the league for a lot longer than 4 years. MJ was a 5-time MVP, but his reign as the best player in the league was a lot longer than 5 years. Peak MJ could’ve and should’ve been given the MVP every year, but that gets old and boring.

So there is a difference between Giannis winning the MVP this year and being the best player in the league.

Credit to Detroit. They fought. They could’ve and should’ve just packed it in last night. They weren’t winning this series, but they were grinding out. They had pride. They didn’t lay down. They had a lead at halftime, they still had that lead in the third quarter…but then… Giannis! Then Giannis put on a third quarter clinic that can best be summed up in a montage.
 

16 points in the third quarter. That’s the kind of thing that the best player in the league does. The best player in the league also throws it down like this, in the first quarter.

That is a man playing against boys. The extension, the elevation, and the nasty. That is the kind of thing that could’ve ended the game and the series right there. Detroit could’ve just shut down and screamed LET’S GO HOME and no one would have given a damn.

And if the Pistons didn’t give up after that dunk, nobody would’ve minded if they quit after this play moments later.

Is this dude for real? There’s the block and then there’s the horrified reaction from the Pistons fan in the stands. That guy looks like he just saw a ghost. And he pretty much did. Because that is not real life.

Giannis just rejected that shot into the center of the earth. Holy crap. He came from nowhere to get that. And yes, I know he’s doing this against the 8th seed, but again, how many people have you ever seen do this to anyone on any level? That was like that former D I’er that swatted J Stew in a run at the local Y, landed and got his stew’s grill and screamed, Man’s game, bitch!!! 

And Giannis is doing all this freaky ish at  6’11?! The same height as Tim Duncan. Can you imagine the Big Fundamental getting the ball outside the three-point line and dunking like that? Or rejecting a shot like that? And that’s no disrespect to Duncan, can you imagine anyone anywhere doing stuff like what Giannis just did last night?

I repeat, that bleep really isn’t’ real That’s a cartoon character move.

And speaking of moves that guys should never be able to do and make no sense at all: there’s whatever the hell this was

That’s Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller. That is an experienced, veteran crew. They have seen a ton of basketball in their day. They have words for every occasion and they’re just about to give up after that. And I understand why.

Because after the game, Giannis and Eric Bledsoe tried to explain that play and they weren’t real good at it either.

Again, I’m not saying that going for 41, 9, and 4 in a closeout game against an 8: makes you the best player in the league. I’m just saying that’s the kind of thing the best player in the league does.

And I’m not saying that having a dunk like the one he threw down, and a rejection like the one he had, makes you the best player in the league, but those are the kind of things that the best player in the league does.

It’s a dominant performance against an undermanned Pistons team. And everything could change in the next round. Brad Stevens and Al Horford could come up with something nasty to lock up Giannis and then everyone will be looking to clown him. But the Era of Giannis is coming closer and closer. And if it hasn’t arrived yet, it’s about to. And if you want to say he is right now, you’re not going to get any argument from me.