Get to know Milwaukee Bucks’ top three star players

July 22, 2021

 

Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo, born December 6, 1994)[3] is a Greek Nigerian professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Antetokounmpo began playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens. In 2011, he began playing for the club’s senior team before entering the 2013 NBA draft, where he was selected 15th overall by the Bucks. Antetokounmpo’s nationality, in addition to his combination of size, speed and ball-handling skills earned him the nickname “Greek Freak”. He is widely considered one of the best players in the world and one of the best players of his generation.

In 2016–17 he led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories and became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in all five statistics of total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He received the Most Improved Player award in 2017. Antetokounmpo has received five All-Star selections, including being selected as an All-Star captain in 2019 and 2020, as he led the Eastern Conference in voting in these two years.

Antetokounmpo won back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in 2019 and 2020, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to win two MVPs before turning 26. Along with his MVP award, he was also named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, becoming only the third player after Michael Jordan (1988) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1994) to win both awards in the same season. In 2021, Antetokounmpo helped lead the Bucks to their first NBA championship since 1971, and was named Finals MVP by unanimous vote.

 

James Khristian Middleton, born August 12, 1991 is an American professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He attended high school at the Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina. As a junior and senior, he was named South Carolina Player of the Year, and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee. After being recruited by Scott Spinelli, he went on to play college basketball for Texas A&M University, where he started the majority of the games in his freshman year. In his sophomore season, he earned second-team All-Big 12 honors after leading the Aggies in scoring with 14.3 points per game. Middleton was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 39th overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft. He received his first All-Star selection in 2019. In 2021, Middleton helped lead the Bucks to their first NBA championship since 1971.

In Game 4 of the Finals, he scored a playoff career-high 40 points to help defeat the Phoenix Suns.In Game 6, Middleton recorded 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, and made crucial baskets in the final minutes of the game to put away the Suns 105–98, closing out the series 4–2, securing the Bucks’ first NBA title in fifty years, and giving Middleton his first championship.

Jrue Randall Holiday, born June 12, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for one season with the UCLA Bruins before being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft with the 17th overall pick. Holiday played four seasons with Philadelphia, where he was named an NBA All-Star in his fourth season, before being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013. He is a three-time NBA All-Defensive Team member.

On November 24, 2020, Holiday was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in a four-team trade, involving the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder. On March 4, 2021, Holiday scored 15 points in 23 minutes, and hit a game-winning 11 foot jump shot in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. On April 3, Holiday scored a season-high 33 points on 14-of-23 shooting with seven rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Kings. The following day, he agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Bucks, worth up to $160 million. Holiday had an option for the 2021-22 season worth $26 million.

On his way to an NBA First Team All Defense selection, Holiday averaged a team-high 1.63 steals per game for the Bucks, which was fifth-best in the league. He also made multiple steals in 32 games, which was the second-most of any player in the league over the season.

In Game 6 of the Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks, Holiday dropped 27 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in a 118–107 win, leading the Bucks to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. In Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, Holiday put up 27 points, 4 four rebounds, 13 assists, and a critical steal from Devin Booker late in the fourth quarter which led to an alley oop to Giannis Antetokounmpo to help the Bucks win 123–119. In Game 6, Holiday recorded 12 points, 9 rebounds and 11 assists, to help Milwaukee to a 105–98 victory, closing out the Suns 4–2, securing the 2021 NBA title for the Bucks and awarding Holiday his first championship.