• Giannis Antetokounmpo's ability to lead the Bucks to more titles will mold his NBA greatness, a bestselling author says
  • Roland Lazenby thinks Antetokounmpo's free throw zone likely wouldn't have happened if the NBA finals had reached game 7
  • Milwaukee will have to buck big odds to make it back-to-back NBA title wins

Without question, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game 6 performance Tuesday was unprecedented. For fans, unloading 50 points against the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals arguably cemented his place among the top international players in NBA history. But one expert is not yet convinced.

Bestselling author Roland Lazenby, 69, — who has written numerous books about professional basketball and covered NBA greats such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Earvin “Magic” Johnson — recently weighed in on Antetokounmpo's performance and whether he ranks among the greatest players ever to play the game.

During an exclusive interview with Filipino journalist Brian Yalung of Sports Bytes PH, Lazenby was asked if he thinks that game 6 performance has made the Milwaukee Bucks star one of the best international players in NBA history.

“Giannis is on his way to making a name as a great international player,” Lazenby told Yalung.

“Will he be able to lead his team to more titles? If so, then maybe. His was a spectacular performance in Game 6. Has he learned how to do things on a new level? Can he win again? All to be seen,” he added.

Lazenby was also asked if he thinks the series would have ended differently had it been forced to a game 7. He emphasized that it was important for the Bucks to close out game 6 on their home floor. The author also credited Antetokounmpo for his free throw zone, feeling it would have not been the same had the NBA finals shifted to Phoenix.

“It was very important for the Bucks to close it out on their home floor, where they had the advantage. Their Game 5 victory in Phoenix was a remarkable game, as a team. What Giannis did in Game 6 was stunning. Getting into that free throw zone probably wouldn't have happened in Phoenix,” Lazenby explained.

As for the Bucks making it back-to-back, Lazenby said he believes it will be a tremendous challenge. There are factors to consider, including the COVID-19 situation. Other than that, it will also depend on what happens in the upcoming crazy offseason, which was covered in a previous report.

“A back to back is a tremendous challenge. The season has run late, and the Bucks played deep into July. The next season goes back to the old schedule, if [COVID-19] doesn't steal it away again. There are many factors there, including how other teams respond to their failures this season,” Lazenby said.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks holds the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award and the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game Six to win the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum Photo: Getty Images | Justin Casterline