Since 2003, there has been a force in LeBron James that has dominated the league. As he enters his 15th season, absolutely nothing has changed. Finding a way to improve physically, mentally, and intellectually every single summer. As everyone knows, the king finds a way to keep your attention on social media every summer. The NBA season is back, and there is one Greek stud in Giannis Antetokounmpo that might have something to say.
No. The young phenom is not on LeBron’s level just yet. 8 finals appearances. 12 straight All-NBA 1st team appearances. 4 MVP trophies. 3 championships. Just way too nice of a resume to say he’s close. However, after the showing that Giannis put on display last season in Milwaukee, he has earned the right to be in talks.
There were two stats from his ’16-17 campaign that stood out:
- Giannis became the first player in NBA history to be in the top-20 of the five major statistical categories (22.9 pts, 8.8 rebs, 5.4 asts, 1.9 blks, 1.6 stls).
- Giannis became the first player since LeBron James (2008-2009) to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals.
He had his best season up to date and as a young 22-year-old, his ceiling is extremely high. Where do the comparisons with the king come from? His love for the game, his desire to get better every single season, and just the freakish nature on the court that we have not seen since LeBron (and Zion…holy). It is truly something to watch.
What LeBron has done in this league since 2003 is something that will be remembered forever. He has been the distinct force of getting to the rim with ease and using his physical and mental abilities to make the best possible move on the court ALL THE TIME.
The main motivation behind this piece rises from the fact that in many cases, Giannis poses these same gifts. Watching them play against one another, its truly amazing. They put on display this same type of play-style that nobody in the league comes close to.
Times change and there will always be something new to hit the scene. Giannis is the most physically gifted player since James was drafted. He is the only player in the league that can guard every position on the court effectively.
Giannis has praised LeBron for his ability to do things on the court that nobody else can do. Whether its his unmatched basketball intelligence or his incredible vision on the court, Giannis has nothing but respect for LeBron James.
However, why should Giannis be in these conversations? There are countless reasons why he should be included among the talk for the best in the league. His ability to use his length to get anywhere he wants offensively and defensively. Whether it’s on the fast break or a set play, he’s also looking to get his teammates involved. Calm, collective, and disciplined.
Yes, he did shoot 27 percent behind the arc and 34 percent on long two-pointers last season. That is worse than LeBron has ever shot in his entire career. What people don’t realize is that we are talking about the kid this much and he hasn’t even developed a jump shot yet. Once that develops with his rebounding game, it’s going to be incredible to watch.
The new season is here and we finally got our first taste of Giannis vs. LeBron. It was what we have always seen. The same type of force getting to the rim, the same desire to get their teammates involved, and their same desire to be the biggest players on the court.
However, at this moment, it’s not that close. Obviously LeBron James has a team that is substantially more talented than Antetokounmpo. During their first game versing one another, it was the same display. They took advantage of the open court, took advantage of the paint, and took advantage of their god-given talent.
After the game, LeBron stated how Giannis is one of the most determined and dedicated players in the league. He will continue to work and work, which evidently is showing on the court.
His first two games of the season so far:
Game 1 vs. Boston: 37 points. 13 rebounds. 3 assists.
Game 2 vs. Cleveland: 34 points. 8 rebounds. 8 assists.
At this time, LeBron James is still the best player in this league. You can’t compare Giannis to arguably the greatest to ever play yet, but it won’t be long until they will be alone atop the Weakstern Conference.