Giannis Antetokounmpo Gets Real on Bucks: ‘Hardest Season That I’ve Played’

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Getty Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks are 42-24, tying them for second best record in the Eastern Conference through March 13. Still, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said, this season has been more difficult than most for him.

“It’s hard/ I feel like for me, this has been the hardest season that I’ve played — not only physically, because I had the procedure done on my left knee in the end of June. And I had to get back to myself,” said Antetokounmpo, according to a March 14 story by The Athletic’s Sam Amick. “I feel like when the season started, I wasn’t (myself). And the reason was that I hadn’t played basketball until, like, the second week of training (camp). I had to get back to being by myself.”

Antetokounmpo, a former two-time MVP now in his 11th season, added that it’s also been a tough season from a mental standpoint.

“But emotionally and mentally, it’s been draining,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you. It’s been extremely tough, from Coach Bud (Mike Budenholzer) being let go to Coach Griff (Adrian Griffin) coming in, being let go, then (interim) Coach Joe (Prunty) for three games, Coach Doc (Rivers) coming in, and then you have Dame. It’s been tough.”

The Bucks have been the No. 1 seed three times since 2018, including in 2023. There’s a solid chance that won’t be the case in 2024.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Unorthodox Praise for Patrick Beverley

After the Bucks beat the Los Angeles Clippers on March 10, Antetokounmpo praised Patrick Beverley, giving his Bucks teammate rather unorthodox praise.

“He’s one of those guys that — sorry for my language — that you say, ‘He’s an [expletive].’ But when he plays on your team, like, ‘That’s my [expletive].’ You know? And I love him. We love playing with him. He’s a leader. He knows how to play the game. He’s a winner,” Antetokounmpo said, per ClutchPoints Tomer Azarly’s X account.

Antetokounmpo added that having someone like Beverley is much better than playing against him.

“I’ve been playing against him for a lot of years now,” he said. “I don’t think I ever liked playing against him. He always caught me once a game. He’s an instigator. He’ll push your buttons, but having him on your own team, he makes the game easier for us.”

Beverley has left an impression on Giannis even though he’s only played 14 games for the Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Ranked No. 3 in MVP Rankings’s Michael C. Wright ranked Antetokounmpo No. 3 in his March 8 NBA MVP rankings, behind Nikola Jokic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Wright did not make the case for why Antetokounmpo was ahead of the others as much as he explained why Giannis was behind Jokic and Gilgeous-Alexander.

“The 29-year-old scored 23 points with seven rebounds and six assists. Still, the Warriors manhandled the bigger Bucks in the paint, outrebounding them 50-36 while outscoring them 54-36 in that area. Additionally, rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis flat-out gave Antetokounpo fits.”

Antetokounmpo has already won the award two times, in 2019 and 2020. The fact that the Bucks’ record isn’t as as it’s been in recent seasons may or may not affect his case.