Bucks

2nd Straight MVP Yields Towering Expectations for Giannis, Bucks Next Season

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MVP Not Enough

If Bucks fans are still mourning the early and disappointing departure from the bubble, perhaps Giannis Antetokounmpo winning his second consecutive MVP award has enlightened Wisconsin’s moods.

Most Bucks fans already felt that Giannis was the clear favorite, as he arguably had a better season than last year. This achievement may have been a certainty, but does this now create even more questions? Does this make his decision to stay in Milwaukee easier or harder? Or maybe it didn’t change a damn thing.

Giannis is not satisfied with just an MVP trophy at the end of a season. Even back-to-back MVP’s accompanied by a DPOY award (only the third player in NBA history to do so) isn’t enough. He stated, “I want more” during an interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson. Giannis, again, has also asked not to be called MVP until he can be called a champion. That’s something you love to hear from the player you’re trying to build a winner around.

He may have expressed being thankful and fortunate during his interview. However, his body language spoke louder after a disappointing season.

Owning the league’s best record for two straight seasons without an appearance in the NBA Finals is an issue, yes. Still, it’s an issue the Bucks haven’t faced since the 1970s. Giannis bringing another MVP trophy back to Cream City puts even more pressure on the franchise and Antetokounmpo himself. For fans to gather their thoughts and assemble any predictions on Giannis’ decision, they have to analyze the present “Freak Culture” he created.

The Desire for Giannis

The Bucks have entered what is undoubtedly their biggest offseason ever. The Bucks’ need for Giannis is obvious, but they aren’t the only team that could use his services. Whether he be a new ‘face of the franchise’ player for a team like Toronto, or the ‘missing piece’ to a team like Golden State, the unthinkable is possible.

Social (and national) media has been active for years about how Giannis is going to leave and how the Bucks can’t afford to surround him with the right players. As expected, those claims have skyrocketed. It’s unlikely Giannis will be persuaded by random fans and trolls behind a screen, but the NBA’s top guns might have some more convincing tactics. If reports are made of Giannis meeting with any of them, it would be a reasonable time to worry.

Feeding the Freak

After the Bucks’ game five loss to the Miami Heat, Giannis met with Bucks ownership privately for about three hours. Giannis pleaded that he wants the team to be more creative with constructing the roster. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports also asked him if he would request a trade from the Bucks. Giannis responded, “it’s not happening.” 

Giannis on Idea of Requesting Trade: ‘That’s Not Happening’

Well, that’s a sigh of relief.

Indeed, it’s much better to hear that instead of “I’m leaving.” Giannis has also never done anything to make us question his loyalty, other than the fact that he plays professional sports in Milwaukee. However, it’s still too early in the negotiation process to fully speculate on any possibilities. It hasn’t been clarified yet how creative Giannis is requesting the front office to be with the roster. Undoubtedly, this means free agency signings and trades.

The most critical trade pieces that come to mind would be all-star Khris Middleton and defensive stud Eric Bledsoe. Shipping Middleton out to another team seems like a stretch unless, of course, a franchise presented the right package. Other desirable names on the roster would be Brook Lopez, Wesley Mathews ($2.7M player option), George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo. However, Giannis has expressed sincere confidence in his teammates on becoming a championship team, so it’s challenging to assume precisely what he’s anticipating.

What we know is that Giannis is hungry, and the Bucks need to keep his plate full. Milwaukee needs to make some roster moves this offseason, as the “try harder next season” mentality didn’t work out this year.

Own the Future!

The former Bucks slogan “Own the Future” seems more relevant now than when the Fiserv Forum was being constructed. Bucks ownership has publicly stated that they are willing to offer Giannis a super-max contract.

Bucks’ co-owner: Team wants Giannis Antetokounmpo ‘for the rest of his basketball career’

If the Bucks can take care of business and keep one of the game’s biggest stars, then they have a legitimate chance of bringing a dynasty to Milwaukee. Not since the early years of the team’s existence has there ever been an opportunity like this. The Bucks came close to a basketball regime with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but couldn’t quite get over the hump.

In a saddening manner, Kareem dealt with issues regarding members of the community he played for that Giannis doesn’t seem to have (thankfully). Kareem won three of his NBA record six MVP’s while wearing a Bucks uniform, including back-to-back in 1971-72. That’s a statistic most Bucks fans don’t remember. That’s because Kareem isn’t remembered as a Buck but as a Laker. Even his Lew Alcindor days are primarily commemorated for his time in college as a UCLA Bruin.

Bucks Blessed But Must Improve

Now, with Giannis earning his second MVP, it strikes an eerie resemblance of the Bucks’ glory days. This similarity is evidence that the Bucks must do whatever it takes to secure a contract with Antetokounmpo, as he seems to be taking an approach opposite to Kareem’s.

The Milwaukee Bucks are blessed with a uniquely gifted talent who has proven his allegiance and appreciation thus far in his career. Giannis Antetokounmpo has opened the gates of capabilities for the Bucks, making the Deer District a new player’s destination. The pressure is now on management’s shoulders to up their end of the bargain by satisfying Giannis’ needs on the court and, conclusively, winning championships in Milwaukee.

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About Mike Konicek

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