Nic Batum, a French basketball player, is suing the LNB (French Basketball League) because he was not offered a FIBA contract last year, despite being one of the best guards in the league. Batum says that he is “convinced” that the LNB has “a particular aversion to French players”.
The NBA offseason is always a long one. Every team is looking to add a player or two, while other teams are looking to replace their players with new ones. Who might we hear of? Nic Batum. Or, to be exact, the guy who wants to become that Nic Batum.
When NBA fans think of the “Greek Freak” at this point, they are usually referring to 7 footer “Nic” Batum, who just signed a 4 year $46m contract with Portland Trailblazers. But if the Blazers were to opt out of their $32 million option on Nicolas Batum’s contract after this upcoming season, the 25-year-old would become a restricted free agent and be able to sign with any team this summer.
Long before guiding the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA championship in 50 years, Giannis Antetokounmpo had the will to achieve.
Antetokounmpo’s path has been marked by tenacity and development. He didn’t begin playing basketball until he was a teenager in 2008, and he was lucky that NBA scouts came upon his video.
When the Bucks chose him with the 15th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Greek talent wasn’t exactly a household name. Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, wouldn’t take long to establish himself as one of the league’s top players. He had no desire to settle for anything less than greatness.
The Milwaukee Bucks put forth a lot of effort to help Giannis Antetokounmpo reach his greatest potential.
When Antetokounmpo first entered the league, few people knew much about him, but the Bucks soon realized they had an unique (though raw) talent on their hands.
An extract from Mirin Fader’s forthcoming book, Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP, was featured in The Ringer. Former Bucks head coach Jason Kidd expressed his intention to turn Giannis into a “assassin” in the extract.
Fader is a writer. During the summer of 2014, Kidd and former Bucks coach Sean Sweeney would work out with Antetokounmpo several times each day. Antetokounmpo was being pushed by Milwaukee’s coaching staff, and the Greek Freak was taking in all he could. Kidd also insisted that his top student admit his errors during film study and learn from them.
During the summer league, Kidd used Antetokounmpo as a point guard. He speculated that Giannis might be similar to Magic Johnson. Antetokounmpo made the switch to small forward after that experiment failed. Despite this, the Bucks would see glimpses that made them salivate at the seeming potential of their budding star.
Giannis Antetkounmpo, meanwhile, recognized that potential in himself, giving the Bucks star even more incentive to work hard.
Antetokounmpo’s jab towards Nicolas Batum reflects his ruthless mentality.
During Antetokounmpo’s second season in the NBA, in 2014-15, he improved. His scoring average almost doubled (6.8 to 12.7), and he also had a higher rebounding (6.7) and assist average (2.6).
In his fourth year in the NBA, the rising star would become an All-Star, but it was in his third season that he developed his real killing instinct.
Josh Oppenheimer, a Bucks assistant, told Fader about a conversation he had with Antetokounmpo before a game against the Charlotte Hornets. Giannis could try modeling his game after former Hornets swingman Nicolas Batum, according to Oppenheimer. Antetokounmpo’s retort was instructive.
“Coach, if I become Nic Batum, I’m going back to Greece,” Giannis stated via Fader.
At the time, Oppenheimer’s proposal may not have sounded insane. Batum was a long forward in his peak who could spread the floor with his shooting skills while also creating plays on the ball and blocking passing lanes on defense.
Antetokounmpo, on the other hand, was not interested in just becoming a “good” player. He aspired to greatness.
Antetokounmpo has ascended to the NBA’s peak.
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has risen to the top of the NBA | Justin Casterline/Getty Images
The Bucks’ star hasn’t simply been good; he’s probably the league’s top player.
On his mantle, Antetokounmpo boasts two league MVPs and a Defensive Player of the Year Award. In each of the past three seasons, he has been named to the first team All-NBA and first team All-Defense. Those accomplishments attest to his brilliance, but they are likely little in comparison to Antetokounmpo’s NBA championship.
The Bucks won their first title in 50 years under the leadership of the 26-year-old. In the title-clinching Game 6, he did it in historic manner, scoring 50 points as part of a spectacular effort. Antetokounmpo is one of just two players to win multiple league MVPs, DPOY, and Finals MVP awards, joining Michael Jordan.
Milwaukee’s favorite son was never content with his lot in life. He has worked hard for all he has, and now he can call himself an NBA champion.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Giannis Antetokounmpo Sends a Strong Message After Winning an NBA Championship: ‘I Hope This Can Give Everybody Around The World Hope’
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