(This is Part One of Ten of the Small Market Review: a new series where I dive into the NBA’s ten small market teams and give recognition to a player that stood out this season. Today’s team? The Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo).

After bringing the Milwaukee Bucks their first championship since 1971 in 2021, Giannis Antetokounmpo knew his next mission was to help his team repeat in 2022. The two-time MVP has been a revelation, leading the way for foreign players to come to the NBA and make a name for themselves.

Still just 27 years old, the Greek Freak has the potential to be the face of the NBA. But, that’s a story for another day. Let’s dive into a season that ended sooner than imagined for Giannis and Co.

Continue To Fear The Deer

To open the 2022 NBA season, Milwaukee welcomed the Brooklyn Nets to town as the champs celebrated their accomplishment from the previous year. Giannis and his teammates got their rings and took care of business as they won 127-104. Antetokounmpo finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists in the win.

That win set the tone for the rest of the season, as Giannis consistently made his case for another MVP award with his performances. His 46 double-doubles were good for fourth-best in the league, while his defensive presence continues to strike fear into opponents. While his 1.4 blocks per game and 1.1 steals per game are great, he held his assignments to 44.2% shooting from the field.

For reference, defensive player of the year Marcus Smart held opposing players to 43.2% shooting from the field. That’s only a one percent difference. Maybe Giannis should have received more substantial consideration for the DPOY award.

The Bucks were 45-22 when the Greek Freak played this season and 6-9 without him. Like last year, Milwaukee finished third in the Eastern Conference.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Shined, But It Was Not Enough

In the regular season, Giannis improved his PPG average from 28.1 to almost 30. His field goal percentages fell slightly compared to last year, but he still finished with the third-most first-place votes for Most Valuable Player.

With the Bucks’ third-place finish in the East, they faced off against the Bulls to kick off their journey for a championship repeat. He had three games with 30+ points in the first round and eliminated Chicago in five games.

Things got tougher, as their reward for beating Chicago was facing the Boston Celtics. Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, they put up a fight against Antetokounmpo and the crew.

Game One was all about Giannis, as he finished with a triple-double and clinched the win. The rest of the series was a dogfight, as it went all the way to seven games. There was a four-game stretch where the Greek Freak finished with 42, 34, 40, and 44 points.

Game Seven was much of the same for Giannis, as he dominated the boards with 20 rebounds along with 25 points. He was just one assist away from a triple-double, but the supporting cast didn’t step up as the Celtics clinched their ticket to the conference finals.

Regardless of the team’s failure to repeat as champions, it was another outstanding year for Giannis Antetokounmpo. His 31.9 PPG still currently leads all scorers in the playoffs. But, regular-season averages of 29.9 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and 5.8 APG shows that the man from Greece is here to stay.

Milwaukee may be a small market, but they have found arguably their biggest star in team history.

For more on the NBA, check out Belly Up Sports and follow Nathan on Twitter.

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Nathan Nguyen

As a student at San Jose State University, I strive to give my thoughts on the Los Angeles Lakers after every game and keep you updated on the New York Giants.

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