Giannis Antetokounmpo Does His Best Shaquille O’Neal Impression During Dominant Display in NBA Finals Game 3 vs Suns

Published 07/11/2021, 11:58 PM EDT
Jun 13, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts following a basket during the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets during game four in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


The Milwaukee Bucks added flavor and fervour to the NBA finals with their Game 3 win. Giannis Antetokounmpo and men registered a 20-point victory over the Phoenix Suns and showed that it would be foolish to count them out. It was an optimal use of home crowd advantage as the deers held the serve.

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The Suns, as was the case in Game 2, looked clueless against Giannis, who kept scoring seamlessly. The Freak scored more points than Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and DeAndre Ayton combined. His dominance inside the paint made the fans relive those Shaquille O’Neal moments they long ago cherished.

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Is Giannis Antetokounmpo ready to rule like Shaquille O’Neal?

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a 6’11” 250 lbs beast with the physique of a heavyweight ribbed UFC fighter. For sure, a 7’ 1” 325 lbs heavy Shaquille O’Neal was a greater giant, their game play is very much comparable. Both the entities have the paint as their playground and that’s where even the most elite defenders can not mess with them.

Take, for example, Game 3 where the Greek Freak drilled 24 points (12/12 FG) inside the restricted area. His hammering near the glass was so good that he was fiesting on the Suns thoughout the night. This was exactly how Shaq played during his golden years with the Lakers when everything, breaking the rim with his dominance. 

Also, The Big Shamrock was a big zero when it came down to perimeter shooting. However, he was wise enough to never try something he was not good at. The same goes with his free throw shooting, where his career averaged a paltry 52.7%. Similarly, Giannis, although better than Shaq from downtown, is hardly a reliable long-range player and surely a struggling free throw (55% in playoff 2021) shooter.

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Other striking comparables between the two legends

Giannis Antetokounmpo surely keeps the ball possession outside the paint more often than Shaq ever did, their styles are similar. Consider this, Shaquille O’Neal trusting Kobe Bryant for making the game-winning shots allowed the Mamba to become a clutch entity. Similarly, Giannis does not hesitate in recognizing the perimeter shooting prowess of Khris Middleton when it comes to an expiring game clock.

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Additionally, the 4x NBA Champion, Diesel spent his entire year taking criticism for lacking many skills of an elite baller. Similarly, many give Giannis’ physique the credit for his rim dominance and discount him on everything else that he does. The Freak is certainly one of the best defenders ever and his mid-range shooting is also in growth, making him a well-rounded player. 

Lastly, Shaq’s 2000-02 (three seasons) playoff average stood at 29.9 points, 14.5 rebs, and 3 assists. Compare this to Giannis’ 2021 postseason where he is amounting close to 29.2 ppg, 13 rpg, and 5 apg. 

All this signals that more than Zion Williamson, it is Giannis Antetokounmpo who is looking every bit like the success of Shaq. Do you agree with the assessment? Help us know in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1444 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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