When the Milwaukee Bucks faced the Utah Jazz’s elite defense earlier this month, head coach Quin Snyder’s plan was to give Antetokounmpo a sizeable cushion on the perimeter to prevent him from driving. As soon as he elected to shoot, though, his defender would close out hard to contest rather than daring him to launch. When Antetokounmpo splashed in a 3 to quiet the Vivint Smart Home Arena crowd, one scout leaned back in his chair and put his hands on the back of his head.
“When he can shoot that consistently,” the scout said, “he will be unguardable.”nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal
At 24, Antetokounmpo has already been the league’s Most Improved Player and an All-Star captain, and he is currently a strong MVP candidate. Incredibly, he’s become one of the most popular and dominant NBA players during the golden age of the 3-pointer without a reliable outside shot. His progress as a shooter this season, with coach Mike Budenholzer’s careful guidance and endless encouragement, suggests that Antetokounmpo’s basketball takeover is just getting started.
“He has the 100 percent green light to shoot,” Budenholzer said.
Entering March, Antetokounmpo had improved his 3-point percentage each month this season, reaching 40 percent in February. He’s also made noticeable progress on pull-up 3-pointers, a key weapon for a lead ball handler. In 2018, Antetokounmpo shot just 5.6 percent on pull-up 3s, which ranked last of the 76 players who attempted at least 15 such shots. Since Jan. 1, he is shooting 36.8 percent (7-of-19) on pull-up 3s. He still can’t be described as a good 3-point shooter, but a player with so many other skills needs only to be a confident and competent one.
“I am really confident the ball is going in,” Antetokounmpo said recently. “Obviously, it looks good when the ball goes in. You feel a lot better about yourself. At the end of the day, I have been working on it.
“As I’ve said in the past, my teammates, the coaching staff want me to shoot the ball. I want to keep shooting the ball.”
Though Antetokounmpo has been making adjustments to his shot since his rookie season, his focus on 3-point shooting was heightened during the summer of 2018. The Bucks underwent a coaching change, and with that, a philosophical change on how Antetokounmpo should be used offensively.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
Former Bucks coach Jason Kidd was much more careful in his treatment of Antetokounmpo’s shooting, especially early in Antetokounmpo’s career. During his second season, just 6 percent of his shots were 3-pointers. This year, that number is up to 15 percent.
That increase is no accident: Budenholzer has reiterated that no matter how many times Antetokounmpo’s 3-point attempts ricochet off the backboard or fall short of the net altogether, he should keep shooting from distance. And it’s not just Antetokounmpo. Budenholzer has transformed the Bucks, who were 27th in 3-pointers made per game last season and are second this season.