Giannis Antentokounmpo is a ballplayer whom never backs down. He creates contact only to ferociously seek out more contact and then he technically dissects you in an acrobatic manner. During the off-season he added what I’m going to say is at least 10 pounds of muscle to fill out his now Herculean frame. He’s a man who lives for the escape of the fast break and his flight patterns consistently send him soaring above the box on the backboard.
He’s developed an elbow-extended set shot over the years and is still a minus three point shooter, but I’m here to discuss his go to strengths, not necessarily his weaknesses, although that may be the primary goal to get him to do what he is uncomfortable with. First we’ll list his top four go-to-moves.
#1 The Euro-Step
He’ll be driving at you on a fast break, trying to get you to commit to taking away the left or right hand. Once he see’s your body turn to force an angle, he’ll spring like a kangaroo the opposite direction in what I’ll compare to a full on gallop, set up to step behind your back foot. Mid-air on the way down if you look closely enough, you’ll see his inside foot start to turn back towards the rim. To be quite honest, I wonder how much strain he’s putting on that ankle in particular in order to do so. Also during the jump his arms swing up high naturally to protect the ball from a defenders swipe as it crosses his body. This creates a pendulum effect as his foot or feet come back down that helps him maintain and redirect his balance which is yearning to find the front of the rim. That and the second step he takes is all to regain control and attack the rim with brutal force.
The best I can say, is you’ve better be able to move laterally either direction in an instant if you hope to stop this assult.
Side Note: He’s not afraid to use this move in the half court.
#2 Spin Move
Any time he posts you up and you either lean on him on retreat defensively from anywhere under the free-throw line Giannis will give you a world record breaking lightning fast spin move. The results of this are he’s in excellent position to either easily go off glass with a pretty finger-tips push shot or just flat out dunk on you. He also gets a lot of assists using this move.
So, not wanting your weight too far forward or too far back, short bursts to take up the position he wants, while maintaining your lateral mobility are what’s best suited in my mind to stop this lightning-bolt from striking. Not only are you going to have to do your work early, but you’re going to have to do it often.
Seeking to tuck his elbow behind your back, just below the ribs he plants you by putting his arm down like you were watching the scene from Karate Kid where Danielson had to wax the floor. This prevents your hips from turning and makes you a stationary opponent for just enough time for his hips to explode and use you as a springboard on his way to the basket.
… Better not give him your back.
#4 The Inside-Out Dribble
His counter to the Euro-Step and crossover (which he uses a lot less) is to show his shoulders going for it and then take the dribble poetically back to the outside creating a lane for him to get a free step towards the basket.
The ball goes straight up in a roundabout way above his head on the Euro-Step, the arms stay low on the Inside-Out dribble.