NBA 2020-21: The new NBA season tips-off tomorrow. Giannis Antetokounmpo said the Milwaukee Bucks will not change their approach this season, indicating the regular-season success over the past two seasons.
But that doesn’t mean the team cannot get better, especially in the postseason, where the Bucks have made early exits in the Eastern Conference finals and Eastern Conference semifinals.
“I don’t think we change the way we approach it because it’s been working the last two years. We’ve won a lot of games and we’ve created winning habits,” Antetokounmpo said Monday. “Obviously, I think we’ve got to get better. We throw the first punch. We’ve got to throw a second punch and the second punch is gotta be better in the playoffs so you’ve got to basically do what you do in the regular season, you’ve got to carry over in the playoffs then you’ve got to do it even better.”
Milwaukee has ended with the best record in the league for two back-to-back seasons but has dropped short of the NBA Finals. The Bucks have not won a title since 1970-71 and have not made it to the championship round since 1973-74.
With Antetokounmpo locked up to a max contract extension, the Bucks are making their push now. They’ve looked to upgrade their roster this offseason with former All-Star Jrue Holiday, in addition to veterans Bobby Portis, Bryn Forbes, Torrey Craig, and D.J. Augustin.
“Obviously, I’ve got to be more vocal as a leader. They want to hear my voice, but I’ve done this my whole career, my whole life. I just lead by example and that’s who I am,” Antetokounmpo said. “When I go out on the court, I set the tone. I work hard. I take everything seriously. I respect my teammates. I respect my coaches. I remain coachable. If I’m coachable, everybody’s coachable.”
NBA 2020-21: His averages with the Bucks
The Bucks selected Giannis Antetokounmpo with the No. 15 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He’s developed into one of the best players in the league, with career averages of 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game.
Entering his age 26 season, Giannis Antetokounmpo already has won the Defensive Player of the Year award, two MVP awards, four All-Star selections, and four All-NBA selections. He’s only the 14th player in NBA history with multiple MVP awards and only the third player in NBA history to win MVP and DPOY in the same season.
Antetokounmpo had only one more year remaining on his contract, setting him up to be a free agent in 2021. There were a number of teams that were reportedly hoping to pursue him as a free agent.
He insisted that he and his squad won’t change their mindset. Instead, he’s committed to making his teammates better and to lead by example.
“If I want to get better, everybody wants to get better. And I know a lot of people are looking at what I do and it starts from the locker room. Like every day, when I get in the locker room, I try to be serious and let them know that we’re not here to play around and we have the goal in our head which is to be better today and hopefully, that can help us win a championship, but I’m the same. I lead by example. That’s what people can relate more to.”
NBA 2020-21 Schedule: The tentative NBA schedule calendar for the 2020-21 season:
• Dec. 11-19, 2020: Preseason games
• Dec. 22, 2020 – March 4, 2021: First Half of regular season
• March 5-10, 2021: All-Star break
• March 11 – May 16, 2021: Second Half of regular season
• May 18-21, 2021: Play-In Tournament
• May 22 – July 22, 2021: 2021 NBA Playoffs