Giannis vs Curry: A Finals Preview?

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Giannis Antetokounmpo” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Giannis Ante…well, okay. Let’s be honest: we’re on a first name basis with this guy right now. Giannis proved he and his Milwaukee Bucks can hang with the best competition the NBA has to offer.

From the onset of their game against the Golden State Warriors, the Bucks were engaged, confident and dominant. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is right: the Warriors practically sleepwalked through what should have at least been a close contest at Oracle Arena.

Some Eyebrow Raising Stats:

  • Two-time MVP Steph Curry? 10 points.
  • Former MVP Kevin Durant? 17 points.
  • Even Klay Thompson, with his team leading 24 points, didn’t exactly have a standout performance.
  • The Bucks also outscored the Warriors in each of the first three quarters. At Oracle, no less.

What makes this matchup particularly fascinating is how Giannis and Curry are both unlikely NBA stars who took two very different journeys to reach the pinnacle of their profession.

The subject of a compelling 60 Minutes segment, Giannis grew up in Greece, miles and miles from NBA stardom. Through size, talent and hard work, Giannis became a phenomenon.

What Should Put the Rest of the NBA on Notice?

  • Giannis is 23 years old. 23! All 6’11″ of him.
  • Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James? 30, 30 and 33 years old, respectively.

Giannis has the talent, maturity and discipline to dominate for years to come, provided he stays healthy. Giannis came from relative poverty. Curry came from relative privilege.

Steph Curry will end his career as the greatest shooter from distance the game of basketball has ever seen. Better than Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, you name ‘em, Curry can best ‘em. In terms of physical makeup, Steph Curry is more of an “underdog” than Giannis, who has a wingspan of over seven feet.

Curry makes average people believe that, if they could shoot the basketball like him, they too could become one of the best basketball players on the planet. But the Baby-Faced Assassin is the son of a former NBA player, making his journey to the top of the sport a bit more understandable.

So, what are the odds Giannis and Curry meet in the NBA Finals this season? LeBron and the Lakers likely won’t be a hindrance to Curry’s Warriors – at least, not this season. Who else in the Western Conference can challenge the Warriors? The Houston Rockets have seemed off since the beginning of the season, Gregg Popovich’s Spurs have some retooling to do, and does anyone really expect the Portland Trail Blazers to be able to best Curry and Durant come playoff time?

The Bucks may have a trickier road to the Finals than the Golden State Warriors. Currently sitting at 12-1, the Toronto Raptors are a force to be reckoned with. The 76ers have plenty of young talent, and could potentially give the Bucks some headaches. Even more so after they made the trade for Jimmy Butler.

Perhaps the most potent threat to the Bucks this season are the Boston Celtics. Although they haven’t had the greatest start to their season, Brad Stevens has a talented, seasoned team that should get better as the season goes on.

If the Bucks and Warriors do meet in the Finals, we can expect a tightly contested series with plenty of intriguing storylines. Is Giannis able to carry his team through the grind of the postseason? Will Curry and Durant show signs of aging?

What does the future of the NBA look like? If the rise of the “Greek Freak” is any indication, we could be witnessing an exciting NBA season, unlike any other. To Curry and the Warriors, I pose a simple question: Are you ready?



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