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Is Giannis Antetokounmpo poised to become youngest EuroBasket MVP?
MILWAUKEE (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Giannis Antetokounmpo has done what many probably would have believed impossible when he entered the NBA as a teenager with no top-flight experience in Europe.
The 'Greek Freak', just 22 and in his fourth season with the Milwaukee Bucks, will start in an NBA All-Star Game. He will do so for the Eastern Conference on 19 February in New Orleans.
Is this the beginning of a spectacular year for Antetokounmpo, the first NBA All-Star from Greece?
Will he go on to have a big FIBA EuroBasket 2017 with the Greeks and lead them back to the podium, something the men's team last did at EuroBasket 2009 in Poland when finishing third?
Antetokounmpo has already told the media in Greece that if healthy, he'll be in the line-up when the national team takes on France, Slovenia, Poland, Iceland and hosts Finland in Helsinki.
Taking that one step further, is Antetokounmpo a EuroBasket MVP in waiting? Some of the plays that he has been involved with in recent national team campaigns suggest that will be a very real possibility.
When he first played for Greece at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, there was a lot to like about his game with the national team.
At FIBA EuroBasket 2015, the youngster was a star attraction. He averaged 9.8 points and 6.9 rebounds while also coming up with some terrific plays on both ends of the floor.
Whether he was flying through the air and attacking the basket, making head-turning passes or jumping up to swat an opponent's shot, Antetokounmpo was electric. He was worth the price of admission.
At the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) in Italy, Antetokounmpo was often the best player on the court. At 2.11m in height, he was a match-up nightmare for opposing coaches.
He ended up averaging 15.3 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Antetokounmpo excelled on both ends of the floor in Turin
The NBA All-Star honor? It's due recognition from the fans, and the media. Antetokounmpo deserves the starting nod after averaging 22.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2 blocks per game.
Thank you so much to all of the fans! I'm so grateful for this opportunity to start in the NBA All Star Game! Now let's get that W tomorrow!— GiannisAntetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) January 20, 2017