There will never be another Larry Bird they said until Dirk Nowitzki came along and displayed a similar skill set. There would never be another Oscar Robertson until Russell Westbrook began to realize how great he can be. What about Julius Irving, Shaquille O’Neal or Kevin Garnett. My answer to those is Andre Drummond, Michael Jordan, and Anthony Davis.
The Jordan question was answered years ago with the dominance of Kobe Bryant. But has anyone thought what happens when LeBron James decides to end his career? Will we ever see another player with that type of skill set?
We may not have to wait that long. Giannis Antetokounmpo is well on his way as he’s entering his third season in the NBA. His first two were more of him getting a feel for the game and his team. But now, Jason Kidd has given him the green light and he has produced to the tune of 21 points, two blocks, two steals, six assists and eight rebounds on 51% shooting. Not bad for a player just getting his feet wet in the leadership department.
James in another story. At that stage of his career, entering his third season he averaged 31 points, two steals, seven assists, seven rebounds on 48% shooting. James clearly has the advantage but he was also asked to do more with less. His Cavaliers teams were not as loaded as the Bucks are now. But nonetheless, The Greek Freak is showing signs that he may very well be on his way as the heir apparent.
It’s hard to leave out Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs but his skill set is a little different from these two. What Antetokounmpo must learn is the takeover process that took James years to master. There will be moments where he will find his team in a rut and must do whatever he can to get them out. This is where James had taken so much heat in the past. He would pass up a good shot to show how unselfish he was when everyone, his teammates included needed him to be the man. Antetokounmpo is going through the same issue but he has a better supporting cast. But, there will come a time when he will be forced to play like the superstar he is becoming, or else.
It took over a decade for James to shed that choker label and since then he has won three NBA titles. Can the Greek Freak be on a similar path?