Giannis Antetokounmpo has risen to superstardom in the past few seasons, winning 2 (assuming he gets it this year) MVP awards at the young age of 25. He is an elite defensive talent and is a great scorer too.
Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to 60 wins last season, and likely would have eclipsed 60 wins this season if not for COVID-19. Despite all of this, I strongly believe he is not a tier 1 NBA player… yet.
Here is why:
To get a feel as to why I believe this, let’s take a look at my NBA tier list:
Tier 1: Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant
Tier 2: Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Anthony Davis
We can probably all agree that these 7 players are the “superstar” class of the NBA. So what separates a tier 1 guy from a tier 2 guy?
The answer to that would be playoff performance.
The Tier 1 guys have all won a championship as the undisputed best player on the team (while I don’t think KD was the most valuable or even second most valuable for the dynasty Warriors, he was the best in the 2017 playoffs).
However, the tier 2 guys have not done that.
Giannis lost to a Celtics team without Kyrie or Hayward in 2018 then lost to the Raptors last year. He, so far, hasn’t proven to me he can do it in the playoffs. James Harden is an annual second-round exit and AD never really made the playoffs anyway, so that is why they are Tier 2.
Meanwhile, LeBron is a 3-time finals MVP, Kawhi is a 2-time finals MVP, KD has 2 finals MVPs, and Curry definitely deserved 1 or 2 as well, but he got robbed. These 4 guys are all easily the top tier in my book, and Giannis just can’t be ranked with them until he wins a ring, let alone leads a team to the finals.
Giannis will not join Kawhi, LeBron, Curry, or KD in my top tier of players until he wins a title.
Image: USA Today