Former NBA player and podcast host Gilbert Arenas made headlines recently due to his comments about Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Recently, Arenas mentioned that Antetokounmpo doesn't understand basketball yet. While this may have rubbed the public the wrong way, ironically, it came off as a compliment. It wasn't that Arenas was bashing Antetokounmpo (who arguably is the best player in today's league) but more so stating the fact that the 2-time MVP still has a ton of untapped potential.
Comparing Antetokounmpo to Tim Duncan
According to Arenas, the Greek Freak hasn't mastered the game yet in terms of its preparation and mental aspect. Agent Zero states that right now, Giannis' game solely relies on his physicality, which he utilizes to dominate his opponents. But what if he had Tim Duncan's IQ or the ability to play heavy minutes like LeBron James? Arenas believe that Giannis has yet to learn that part.
"I can look at his game and say he doesn't understand basketball yet. He plays the sport, he won a championship, cool! But he doesn't understand how to be better, how to train his body. To be at the top, you have to train your body at least 38 minutes and above. LeBron played 37 minutes at 37. Allen Iverson was playing 43 minutes," Arenas said in his latest appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "... He doesn't understand that part of the game, right now his game is all physical." Arenas added. "Give him Tim Duncan's knowledge, a whole different player isn't he?"
Although it may come off as a firm knock on Giannis' game, Arenas makes a point in terms of how Giannis hasn't fully mastered the mental aspect of the game. It's not a disrespectful comment on Antetokounmpo per se but learning how to control the ins and outs of the game is something that comes with experience, which Giannis will eventually pick up on in the coming years.
The game within the game
What sets multiple legends apart in NBA history is their ability to read the game and play chess instead of checkers against their opponents. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and even Tim Duncan are some of the best examples who embodied this throughout their careers. Like Antetokounmpo, they all started as inexperienced young players who relied on their physical gifts to make a name for themselves in the league.
However, there came the point where that physical dominance depreciated (look at James right now), but their ability to stay dominant on the court due to their training regimen and IQ kept them going. Antetokounmpo, who is only 27 years old, has a lot of time ahead of him, and while he continues to rely on his physical gifts, it'll only be a matter of time until he dominates the game with his IQ and preparation as well.