Giannis Antetokounmpo ready to embrace three-pointer: ‘This year, I’m shooting’

You've heard it from NBA players and from coaches. The same refrain came from everyone from talking heads to Twitter eggs. Heck, if you're an NBA fan, you've probably verbalized some variation of this declaration at some point yourself.

If Giannis Antetokounmpo can improve his outside shooting, he'll be unstoppable.

Antetokounmpo has heard the talk. He's watched for years as defenders have sagged off him, daring him to shoot instead of taking their chances with him dribbling into the paint.

In the past, Antetokounmpo's mindset was he wasn't going to settle for jumpers. They were all but served up to him on a silver platter and he couldn't shoot every time down the court. So instead, he would try to force his way into the lane, sometimes drawing two or three defenders as he ventured into the teeth of the defense trying to make a play.

That's all about to change. The age of Antetokounmpo embracing the three-point shot is nigh.

"I was trying to make plays, but this year, I’m shooting," Antetokounmpo said, fresh off an extended three-point shooting session following Wednesday's shootaround in Oklahoma City.

"I’ve worked so much this summer on it and day by day I get more comfortable. I’m going to shoot more shots and hopefully I make more. If I don’t, there’s another year coming and hopefully next year I can be better and better and better and better and better. Eventually, it’s going to come.”

To this point in his career, Antetokounmpo has been a reticent three-point shooter. He's attempted 1.7 three-pointers per game over his five-year career, going 168 for 591 (28.4%). There's been a noticeable hesitation in his shot, with him only looking comfortable from certain spots and with a certain amount of space.

Antetokounmpo's slow development could be traced to former Bucks coach Jason Kidd's handling of his star. Kidd, who handed the keys to Antetokounmpo early in his tenure and undoubtedly helped form Antetokounmpo into the positionless, versatile juggernaut he is now, took a slow track on expanding Antetokounmpo's shooting game.

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