Giannis Antetokounmpo Becomes 1st Bucks Player to Win Most Improved Player

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA‘s Most Improved Player for the 2016-17 season, becoming the first player in franchise history to earn the label, per ESPN Stats & Info.

While Antetetkounmpo had a decent 2015-16 campaign, he jumped to stardom this season by posting 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. The 22-year-old forward’s play also earned him his first All-Star selection, the Bucks’ first All-Star since Michael Redd in 2003-04.

Selected by the Bucks 15th overall in the 2013 NBA draft, Giannis required a few years to fully develop. He entered the league as a rookie at the ripe age of 19, requiring some additional muscle and seasoning before he could shine. That finally came to fruition in 2016-17.

Giannis carried Milwaukee to their third playoff appearance in the past five seasons, falling in six games to the Toronto Raptors in the first round. Milwaukee hasn’t won a playoff series since 2000-01. That team—comprised of stars Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson—advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to an Allen Iverson-led Philadelphia 76ers team.

While they couldn’t compete this season, the Bucks possess a young collective of players that could make the franchise a contender in the future. Among the group is Rookie of the Year award winner Malcolm Brogdon, who added himself as a second award winner for the team this season.

While the Bucks may still be a couple years away from potentially being serious contenders, they at least own a cornerstone piece to build around in Giannis. Now that he’s got a Most Improved Player trophy on the mantle, his next logical step would be putting his name in the Most Valuable Player race.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

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