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Bucks’ Kris Middleton: " I think you’re going to see a whole new Giannis this year”

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jeff Teague

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives to the basket ahead of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague, left, during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


Last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 26.9 points and 10 rebounds a game, was dishing out 4.8 assists a night as the point guard, and was playing fantastic defense. He finished sixth in the MVP voting.

Kris Middleton has been watching Antetokounmpo through training camp — the team’s first under new coach Mike Budenholzer — and he thinks the new offense will lead to a more comfortable and confident Greek Freak. And that should scare the rest of the league. From James Herbert of CBS Sports:

“I think you’re going to see a whole new Giannis this year. With that being said, it’s more of a guy not hesitating more and shooting more freely. [He will take] 3s and midrange and whatever, but without him hesitating or trying to force the issue. I think this offense is going to be perfect for him, where he won’t have to put too much stress on his body. He can take what the defense gives him. And then there’s going to be times when he just puts his head down and goes and does what he does best. But I think you’re going to see a new Giannis regarding shooting 3s more and just playing more freely.”

Whether it’s the off-season work or the green light from Coach Bud, Antetokounmpo has looked more comfortable from three this preseason.

If he’s hitting that shot, the rest of the league is screwed. There will be no defending him.

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are an interesting team this season. How much can a coach with a modern system that better fits the players, and adding some shooting to the lineup (Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova) improve a team? The Bucks could be very dangerous this season if it all comes together.

Especially if there’s a whole new Giannis.