James Harden’s ongoing drama with the Houston Rockets has distracted a lot of people from the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo has yet to sign a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. It was assumed heading into the 2020 NBA Draft that a deal was imminent – and yet nothing has come to fruition.
This week, Gilbert Arenas spoke out about Antetokounmpo, his playing style, and what is currently transpiring between him and the Bucks.
“To be honest, he’s the James Harden of the East Coast,” Arenas told Shannon Sharpe on the Club Shay Shay podcast.
“What James Harden is in the West, is what Giannis is there. You have a guy who’s not a point guard, who dominates the ball, and he’s playing one style.
“And that style is: ‘I’m gonna try to take all the big men who can’t move off the dribble, Euro step and get some dunks.’ That is amazing during the regular season, but when that court gets small you can’t do that anymore.”
In Arenas’ estimation, Antetokounmpo absolutely must develop a post-up game.
“Unless he learns how to play back-to-the-basket, where, when he gets the ball, teams are actually shifting, now [Khris] Middleton hit three threes, now they’ve gotta play you one-on-one, now you can go score, now you can do those little things.”
Antetokounmpo’s usage rate of 37.5 percent led the NBA this past year, so it’s not difficult to see where Arenas is coming from.
Arguably the ugliest shoes in sports history. https://t.co/lZVelWnNxP
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 10, 2020
Earlier this week, Antetokounmpo was asked to speak on the status of his supermax extension with the Bucks.
“I’m not focused on that,” he said. “I know my agent, Alex [Saratsis], and [Bucks general manager] Jon Horst and the Bucks ownership are focusing on those discussions, but I’m just trying to focus on myself — how I can get better, how I can help my teammates get better, how can we be ready Saturday to play our first preseason game?”
At this point, the two-time league MVP is simply focused on moving forward.
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 8, 2020
“I think about Milwaukee,” he said. “I think about my teammates. I think about my family. I think about what’s the best decision for me, but that’s pretty much it. Then, after that, I realize that I’ve got so far because I’ve focused on how I can improve every single day.
“I love the city of Milwaukee. I love the organization. I love my family to death. I love winning, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be in this situation if I wasn’t working hard, I wasn’t winning games, I wasn’t improving every day and I didn’t have this mentality.
“So I can’t change who I am, I cannot change this mentality, and I’m gonna focus on improving, and day by day, everything’s gonna take care of itself. You guys probably are gonna know what’s going on before I do. That’s what usually happens. You guys know more than me.”
Will Antetokounmpo respond to Arenas’ jabs? Time will tell.