Bucks Notes: Giannis, Beverley, Portis, Gallinari, Galloway

Prior to Friday’s victory in Chicago, Bucks head coach Doc Rivers was asked why star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo hasn’t generated a ton of Most Valuable Player buzz this season despite putting up some of the best numbers of his career. As Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, Rivers suggested that voter fatigue may be a factor, given that Antetokounmpo has already won a pair of MVP awards.

“I don’t even want to get into it, but there’s been guys that you get tired of voting for,” Rivers said. Michael (Jordan) may be the poster child of that. And Giannis seems to be in that category; where you’re so good, everything you do is taken for granted. When you just look at his numbers, they’re incredible, and yet, you never hear his name. It’s unbelievable, but that’s a sign of respect more than disrespect in some ways.”

Not long after his coach made those comments, Antetokounmpo submitted one of his best all-around performances of the season, racking up 46 points (on 16-of-22 shooting), 16 rebounds, and six assists. He’s now averaging 30.8 PPG and 11.3 RPG, with a career-best 61.9% field goal percentage. His 6.3 assists per contest would also be career high, and Giannis appreciates that he’s getting some recognition for his play-making skills this season.

“I’ve become a more willing passer this year because my teammates are pretty freaking good, but I think I always could pass,” he said on Friday. “Coming into the league, that was my thing that separated me, but we didn’t have a lot of TV games, and a lot of people didn’t pay attention to Milwaukee. So, people see me do a pass now, it’s like, ‘Oh, he can pass!’ I’ve been passing. I’m the all-time assist leader in Milwaukee. ‘Oh, he can pass!’ Of course, I can pass.”

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • The Bulls took exception to chippy play from Patrick Beverley, Bobby Portis, and the Bucks on Friday, with DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic both growing frustrated by non-calls and earning flagrant fouls of their own by retaliating, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Rivers praised his team after the game for playing physically and aggressively without crossing any lines. “We have instigators, for sure,” Rivers said, per Nehm. “But it’s only good if you can do that and you don’t get caught up into it. And I thought tonight was right on the edge, and then we backed off.”
  • Danilo Gallinari has made a limited impact in his first five games as a Buck, scoring 10 total points on 3-of-12 shooting in nearly 48 minutes. However, Antetokounmpo likes what he has seen from his new frontcourt mate, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. “It is easy to play with Gallo. He is so smart,” Giannis said. “He has been around a long time. He knows how to play the game. … We know that he is capable of doing a lot of things for us offensively. Defensively, such a big body helps his defense with his length.”
  • Jaylin Galloway, the 21-year-old wing who is joining the Bucks on a two-way contract, just completed the first season of a three-year deal with the Sydney Kings. According to Olgun Uluc of ESPN (Twitter links), if Galloway wants to return to Australia’s National Basketball League after his two-year, two-way contract with the Bucks expires (or earlier, if he’s cut), that contract will essentially pick up where it left off, with Sydney holding his NBL rights for two more seasons.
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