There are few players in the NBA that have achieved what Nigerian-Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has in only three years in the league and the best thing is that, at only 23 years old, he is just getting started.
He has scooped our African Player of the Week spot this week and continues to emerge as one of the elite basketball talents not only in the league but across the globe. Antetokounmpo recently became the fifth player in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.
As a young leader of the Milwaukee Bucks, he is averaging 23.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, shooting 52 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from the from behind the arc and 78.9 percent from the free-throw line.
He played in all of the Bucks’ games this week and kept to his double-figure scoring ways in all of them. His standout performance was in Milwaukee’s 104-93 victory over the New York Knicks last Thursday in which he had a 32-point, 13-rebound double-double.
Cameroonian-French guard Nicolas Batum of the Charlotte Hornets gets this week’s second spot. The 28-year-old 6’8’’ small forward leads Buzz City in assists with an average of 5.9 per game and continues to become a more efficient contributor to his team.
His other numbers include 15.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and he is shooting 40 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from three-point range and 86.3 percent from the free throw line.
Batum started all three of the Hornets’ games over the past seven days and also had double figure scoring in all of them whith his best performance being in the Hornets – Milwaukee Bucks matchup on Sunday, in which he had 24 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
The third spot goes to Nigerian-American shooting guard at Oklahoma City Thunder – Victor Oladipo, who is finding his rhythm at his new franchise which he joined in the offseason.
This season, he is averaging 16.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game and shooting 45.1 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from beyond the arc and 74.8 percent from the free throw line.
He continues to maintain a double-digit scoring average and played in all four of the Thunder’s game this week, with his outstanding performance being in the OKC 112-104 victory over the Utah Jazz last Saturday in which he had 22 points and four assists.
Our first honourable mention goes to Algerian-French guard at the Orlando Magic – Evan Fournier, who recently returned from injury and is already getting back to his impressive performance level with 16.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
He played in all four of Orlando’s games over the past seven days and had 21 points and five rebounds in the Orlando Magic – Sacramento Kings matchup on Tuesday.
Gorgui Dieng, the Senegalese center at the Minnesota Timberwolves, gets our second mention for this week. He is putting up 10 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, and maintaining his position as a starter at the franchise.
From the five games he played in this week, his notable performance was in the Timberwolves’ 119-104 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday in which he had 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
By Kaunda Chama