The 2021 NBA Finals saw the crowning of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who put forth one of the greatest performances in NBA history to clinch the championship for his team. Of course many believed that the Los Angeles Lakers, and not the Phoenix Suns, would’ve been opposite Milwaukee in the Finals, but an injury to Anthony Davis basically ended all hopes.
Injuries obviously happen every year in the NBA and it is no guarantee that the Lakers would have made another championship run if Davis did stay healthy. But after seeing Antetokounmpo dominate the Suns in the closing games, there is a question as to who, if anybody could stand a chance against him and one Bucks legend believes there is one.
In an interview with Sirius XM NBA Radio, Bucks legend Oscar Robertson listed Davis as the only player in the NBA with a chance of guarding Antetokounmpo:
“I just thought that [Ayton] was outmanned at center, the kid from Phoenix. He had no chance. He didn’t have the structure or the size in order to keep Giannis from doing anything at all. He just muscled him and went around him and did everything he could to him, and that’s just the way it goes. I’m very happy that they didn’t get away from Giannis. When they got down two or three points, they kept going to him and he delivered. He made some shots, some 12- or 13-foot shots that I haven’t seen him make before in a long time. If he can do that, I don’t know who can stop him. The only person, I think has the size to give him a decent chance at guarding Giannis, is AD from the Lakers. No one else. I don’t see any other player on defense that’s gonna be able to handle Giannis.”
Finding someone with even a chance of slowing down Giannis is a near-impossible task. Those who can potentially match his strength are usually too slow to keep up with his speed and athleticism and those who have the foot speed are usually too small and get overpowered. Antetokounmpo is truly a one-of-a-kind athlete, but so is Davis.
Davis is the rare big man who can basically match the size, speed and athleticism that Antetokounmpo presents, as well as the desire and grit on the defensive end to really take on the challenge. Shutting down a player of Giannis’ caliber is impossible, but there is no doubt that Davis is the ideal choice to make life difficult on the reigning NBA Finals MVP.
Perhaps if everything goes right for both sides, this could very well take place on the biggest stage of next season’s NBA Finals.
Shaquille O’Neal anoints Antetokoummpo with ‘Superman’ nickname
Speaking of legendary big men, there are few greater than Shaquille O’Neal, whom Giannis has drawn some comparisons to with his dominance in the paint these playoffs. Shaq took notice as well and showed his appreciation and respect he has for Antetokounmpo after the Finals.
O’Neal bestowed the ‘Superman’ nickname on Giannis in a post on Instagram, thanking him for bringing ‘bully ball’ back. While nobody will ever be Shaq again, Antetokounmpo is clearly the closest thing to him in terms of pure physical domination inside.
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