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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Why Thanasis Antetokounmpo Should Be in the MVP Race

Why Thanasis Antetokounmpo Should Be in the MVP Race

Thanasis Antetokounmpo was drafted with the 51st pick by the New York Knicks in the 2015 NBA draft. Since then, he has played seven seasons in the NBA, one season with the Knicks and six seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. This season he is averaging one point per game. However, his value as a player is extremely underrated.

Thanasis may not be generating “good” statistics, but his presence on the Bucks is critical for one reason: to keep his little brother happy.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, 29, is the younger brother of Thanasis and also plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. He is currently averaging 30 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists on 61% from the field goal range. He was voted as an All-Star player and is fourth in the NBA MVP race, behind only the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Dončić, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic. He is considered to be one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history and is one of the most popular basketball icons in the world.

His greatness would not have been possible without Thanasis’ support and encouragement. Also, Giannis would not be as happy to play for the Bucks if his brother wasn’t on the team.

Within the league, Thanasis was made fun of. Many casual NBA fans gawk at the fact he has a roster spot on the team, some people even calling him a “professional cheerleader.”

Yet, to many focused and dedicated NBA fans, such as myself, we see Thanasis as a key contributor to the Bucks’ success and Giannis’s success as well. If Thanasis’s presence is one of the main factors to how Giannis is playing on the court, why isn’t his influence discussed more often? 

His one point a game may be unimpressive, but he is humble and stays on the bench to support his teammates and fuel victories. He only plays when the Bucks are up by more than 20 points, only because Giannis and the team keep him from demolishing the other teams.

Before the 2023-24 NBA season, Giannis was eligible to receive a three year, $186 million extension which he originally declined then later accepted in late October. In an interview discussing the extension, he mentioned, “I had a conversation with my family, aka [Thanasis Antetokounmpo], that it would make more sense for me to sign because I’d be able to — first of all, you don’t know what tomorrow holds —  have eligibility to re-sign in 2026,” Antetokounmpo explained. “I don’t remember what he told me, but that was the smartest thing to do, so I just kind of trust his thinking.”

Without Thanasis convincing Giannis to stay with the Bucks, Giannis could have gone to another team and wouldn’t have had the same success he is having this season. The effect of Thanasis’ decisions towards MVP candidates should be appreciated more by the league.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo’s statistics are lacking this season due to his playing time, but his influence on the Milwaukee Bucks and fellow MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo should be widely discussed by sports fans and critics alike. Without a doubt in my mind, Thanasis could easily place over Luka Dončič in the MVP race if he was to get more playing time. 

Thanasis beating Kevin Durant (27 PPG) one-on-one in the 21-22 season.
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    hiMar 20, 2024 at 10:49 am

    THis is SO VALID