In his fourth year in the NBA, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting up numbers reminiscent of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain. Here's a look at Antetokounmpo's accomplishments ahead of the Bucks' game Friday night against the New York Knicks (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).
Elias Sports Bureau research shows that Antetokounmpo is on track to become the seventh player to improve his per-game averages in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals in each of his first four seasons (note that blocks and steals were first tracked in 1973-74). He would be the first player to do so since Rod Strickland from 1988-89 to 1991-92.
Putting on muscle
On draft day in 2013, Antetokounmpo weighed 196 pounds. Since then, he has put on nearly 30 pounds of muscle and is listed at 222 pounds this season.
Thanks to some quality time at the gym, Antetokounmpo is scoring at will in the paint and is also doing a great job of defending down low.
He leads the NBA with 13.6 points per game in the paint. His 85 dunks this season rank fourth in the NBA behind three true centers.
He is averaging 1.97 blocks per game, fifth in the NBA. Three of the four players ahead of him are considered true centers.
He is allowing opponents to shoot 45.5 percent at the rim this season, eighth in the NBA. Five of the seven players ahead of him are considered true centers.
Passing like a guard
Antetokounmpo is averaging a career high in assists at 5.8 per game and is distributing the ball at a better rate than a few notable guards.
Antetokounmpo leads all players listed 6 feet 11 or taller in assists this season. If he can maintain his assist numbers, he will finish with the fourth most assists per game by a player that tall in a season. Only Wilt Chamberlain -- 8.6 in 1967-68 and 7.8 in 1966-67 -- and Kevin Garnett -- 6.0 in 2002-03 -- have averaged more.
Kareem + Bird = Giannis?
Antetokounmpo could be the first player to average 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks per game in a season since steals and blocks were first tracked in 1973-74.
Since then, there are only two players to average that many points, rebounds and assists and average either two steals or two blocks per game.
In 1975-76 and 1978-79, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it with two blocks per game but didn’t reach the two-steals-per-game threshold.
In 1985-86, Larry Bird did it with two steals per game but didn’t reach the two-blocks-per-game threshold.
Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.8 assists and just less than 2.0 blocks (1.97) and 2.0 steals per game (1.91).