Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, the league announced tonight at the inaugural NBA Awards show. Antetokounmpo is the first player in Bucks history to be named Most Improved Player.
“I’m honored and humbled to be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player and grateful to so many people for helping me reach this point in my young career,” said Antetokounmpo. “Thank you to my family whose love and support means the world to me. Thank you to my teammates, coaches and staff with the Bucks who push me to succeed every day. Thank you to our fans who never stop cheering for us. Thank you.”
In his fourth season, Antetokounmpo set career highs in scoring (22.9 ppg), rebounding (8.8 rpg), assists (5.4 apg), blocks (1.9 bpg) and steals (1.6 spg), as well as field goal percentage (.521). He became just the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks for a season, and was the first player in NBA history to rank in the top-20 for total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Despite playing nearly the same number of minutes per game in 2016-17 (35.6) as he did in 2015-16 (35.3), Antetokounmpo increased his scoring average from 16.9 points per game, to 22.9 points per game this season.
Antetokounmpo earned his first All-Star appearance when he was selected as a starter for the Eastern Conference in the 66th NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans in February. He was the Bucks’ first All-Star since Michael Redd in 2004 and the first All-Star starter since Sidney Moncrief in 1986. Antetokounmpo scored an Eastern Conference-high 30 points on 14-for-17 shooting.
“Giannis wants to be the best and this is a terrific achievement for him and for our organization,” said Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. “No one puts in more work than Giannis and we’re thrilled for him to receive this honor.”
During the 2016-17 season, Antetokounmpo recorded three triple-doubles to give him eight for his career, which ties him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most in team history. He was also one of just five players in the NBA this season to average over 20 points per game while shooting 50 percent or better. In May, Antetokounmpo was named Second Team All-NBA, the highest All-NBA Team selection for the Bucks since Moncrief in 1986.