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July 13, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks

Practice Day

Q. The way this schedule has worked out, you guys have only played I think now one game in five days. Do you see any benefit on your knee, or whatever pain you have left is going to be there until the summertime?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No, my knee feels great. It feels great. I'm happy that we have two days in between. I feel like in the Eastern Conference Finals, if I remember, we had, it was a game, day, game. We had one day in between, so it was a lot for everybody. But now we have time to take care of our body, spend some time with our family.

It's good for us mentally and physically and for me also. I always like to have a little bit more time in between the games so I can get a little bit more rest and recover a little bit better and be able to go and play hard.

Q. Earlier in your career when teams started focusing on you more and building that wall, how did that help you read the way defenses move and improve as a passer?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: The first time I saw the wall was probably two years ago. But I was always capable of passing before that. It's something that I always liked to do. I had coaches and people throughout my career that helped me with finding the right guy, finding the right pass, making the right play. But once I started seeing the wall, two years ago, now it's almost, it's about trust. And it's kind of hard, because you want to be effective, you want to get downhill, you want to do everything, but now you also -- and you take it personal also. There's a team that's building the wall of three people and two guys behind and trying to stop you. Now you have to not take it personal and make the right play, find the right guy. I feel like I did that better since two years ago now. I'm doing it better. I'm finding, I'm trusting my teammates. I'm finding guys. But I was always a capable passer before the wall was created, which is funny that there's a defense out there called the Giannis Wall. It's funny to me, you know? So it's crazy.

But at the end of the day, I just got to keep focusing on myself, keep focusing on what I have to do, how can I put my teammates in a position to be successful and be aggressive throughout everything.

Q. Is that perhaps the best compliment you could have as a player, that there is something called that and that teams have tried to devise such a thing?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: You have to take it as a compliment. You always have to find the fun factor in everything. In that, in the free throw, "1, 2, 3, 4," whatever. The thing is, you always got to find the fun factor.

So, yeah, it is a compliment that there's got to be three people in front stopping me from getting in the paint and building that wall. But, yeah, I hate it, though (laughter). I'm not going to lie; I hate it. But at the end of the day, you got to figure out a way to play through it.

Q. In the Eastern Conference Finals, I think you had talked a little bit about the roles everyone on the team had. You went through the whole roster, even the guys who aren't playing much, and what they're providing in the locker room. I'll loop Donte (DiVicenzo) into this too. Could you share anything specific about what those guys meant in this run?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I'll talk specifically on Donte. Obviously, I don't think we can talk about his medical stuff, but he went through his surgery and everybody goes through tough moments in their career. This was a tough moment for him, in Miami. And through everything that is going on in his life, he still shares -- like he was with us at practice today. He's always around us. He's always with us and he's always been vocal. He helped me a lot through the Brooklyn series. He was talking to me. He was telling me what to do, and he's like three years or two years younger than me. And that means a lot it me. That means a lot to the team that throughout what is going on, he's still here, still trying to help the team in any way possible. He's being vocal in the locker room, and he wants this as bad as anybody out there on the floor. He cannot go out there on the floor, but he can do it from the sideline and that's what he's doing right now. So I'm extremely proud of him.

Q. After Game 3, Monty mentioned that you went to the line more than his entire team. A little bit of I guess gamesmanship, trying to alert the referees for Game 4. Do you pay attention to that, or do you feel like you take a pretty good beating to get to 17 foul attempts?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No. I don't have social media. I have it, but I'm not on it. So I don't follow quotes after the games about the coaches or us or my coach. I don't follow that. But I think I take a pretty good beating down there. I have a scratch right here and scratch right here. So they're making my pretty face ugly (laughter).

But it is what it is. I just try to focus on what I have to do and how can I help my team be successful. That's all I'm going to spend my energy on.

Q. Usually when a guy wins two MVPs and is an All-Star every year we feel like he is the player who he's going to become. But you've always talked about development, and there's this conversation in the media and with the fans about how you play. I just wonder, two, three years down the road, do you still see changes and improvements that you're working on now? Do you feel like you're getting closer to that peak? And what do you make about that conversation where folks say if he would get in the block more, if he would shoot less -- talking about how you play the game?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I'm not trying to focus on what people have to say about my game and how I should play. But always it comes back to me and what I believe and how I can get better and what I see two, five, ten years down the road. I believe that year by year if I'm healthy and I keep working hard, by the grace of God, I'm going to keep getting better as a player. I'm going to be more effective. I'm going to be able to read the plays better. I'm going to be more mature. I'm going to be okay at being under my skin. I'm going to be okay going to a game and shooting 0-for-8 from the three-point line. I'm going to be okay going in the game shooting 2-for-10 from the free throw line -- because I know there's a bigger picture, I know who I am.

But going down the road, I feel like, yeah, I can get better. I don't think I'm there yet, but I feel like I can get way, way better. But the specific things that I have to do that I believe I can get better at, I'm willing to do it.

Q. What is one specific for you? When you hit this offseason, what are you looking at?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: If I come back next year and I shoot from the line 80 percent, I'm better. You can keep it as simple as that. If I come back and -- no matter if I miss a shot or make a shot I take the next one, like mindset, like not being scared of missing shots. Because when you're not a jump shooter, when you miss your first one, your second one, you're like oh, this is not the night. You kind of go away from it and go to your strength.

There is a big list, but I feel like going to the summer working on the weaknesses and being okay coming back next year playing a little bit on your weaknesses. I feel like always I try to go to my strength, which is drive and getting downhill, getting in the paint, making the right pass and all that. I feel like expanding the game, sometimes you got to be okay with playing with your weaknesses a little bit. It might not be the strongest part of your game, but if you're able to expand it -- it might be a 15-footer, a three-pointer or whatever the case might be -- it makes you more effective down the line. I think that's where the adjustment, for me, is going to be.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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