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Gilbert Arenas says Giannis needs to learn how to play basketball

Marcus-Smart-Giannis-Antetokoumpo

LeBron raised a lot of eyebrows when he supported Channing Frye's statement Giannis isn't a scorer. Fry later elaborated he meant Giannis isn't a shooter; that he is one dimensional. Here's how LeBron elaborated his support.

I know what Channing is basically talking about. You’ve got to break down the game. But everyone is so, like, instant oatmeal, and so surface.

LeBron James, Road Trippin’

This was more a case of Frye misusing "scorer" and trying to make a nuanced argument on Twitter. But the conversation revealed at that level, dropping 30 a game doesn't impress people. Top-level players value quality as much as quantity. They know being a three-level scorer is crucial in the playoffs. For 99.9% of players, Giannis is unstoppable. For guys on LeBron's level, he is one dimensional.

Arenas makes a great comparison - Harden and Giannis are complete opposites at first glance. But both suffer from the same problem - predictability. When Gilbert says Giannis needs to “learn how to play basketball,” we need to take into account Giannis is being graded on a curve. Yes, he is spectacular at playing basketball against almost anyone. When you talk about a double MVP, you measure him against the best of the best.

That is amazing during the regular season, but when that court gets small, you can't do that anymore. You can't play that style.

Gilbert Arenas, Club Shay Shay

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Arenas compared it to football. There's a difference between receivers that are great 50 yards from the end zone and players who shine in the red zone. A lot of guys can make plays when there's a lot of room and defenses aren't as focused. What counts is what you do in those last 20 yards.

I know you good here when you don't have to think. We need to get you there [where you have to think.]

Gilbert Arenas, Club Shay Shay

So what's next in his evolution? It doesn't have to be a killer three-pointer. For Giannis to become a player that makes playoff defenses scared, he has to develop a mid-range and most importantly, a reliable shot from the charity stripe. When there's variance in his game, double-teaming him will become a must. Defenders will have to think more, and that means making decisions.

The key to a winning offense in the playoffs is to make the defense think as much as possible and make decisions as much as possible, leading to mistakes that result in open shots, layups, and foul trouble.

Giannis saying LeBron is still the best in the league, despite his MVPs, and everything else we know about him shows us he gets that. Antetokoumpo is a rare case of a two-time MVP who stayed humble, and all he talks about is improving his game.

Will he win a title in his career? I don't know. But I'm sure at the end of it all we won't be able to say Giannis didn't do everything he could to become the best he could be. That's why every team in the league would love to have him on their roster. That's not something you can say about every superstar in the NBA. 

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