Giannis Antetokounmpo has earned the nickname “The Greek Freak” with good reason.
The Greek Freak is one of the most physically gifted players in the league. Combining that with his tenacious work ethic has made Giannis one of the greatest to play the game.
How to guard Giannis has been a question posed by every defense in the league. The Bucks star is a skilled enough player to punish double teams and on half-court opportunities, he is virtually unguardable.
“Building a wall” has been a strategy that has been adopted by some teams to varying degrees of success. While the Heat succeeded in executing it during the 2021 Playoffs, others have not met the same fate.
In his early years of All-Star status, Giannis had a formidable foe in the East. A certain someone named LeBron James. Although they never met in the Playoffs, the Cavs were wary of the threat posed by Giannis.
Did the Cavaliers have a plan to deal with Giannis?
LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers also recognized the threat Giannis posed in the East. Their solution? To gather together, in Channing Frye’s words.
Channing Frye was a crucial cog in the successful Cavs machine that won LeBron his 3rd Championship. Frye hinted that the whole squad including LeBron, JR Smith, Richard Jefferson, and Kevin Love huddled up to strategize defending Giannis, and here is what Channing Frye said on the matter, according to this Reddit post.
“Hey, we need to gather together, to take him.”
The master plan was basic. To try getting as many bodies in there to take the force Giannis attacks with. Was it successful? The 2016 ring in their collection speaks for itself.
While they may not have faced Giannis, the Cavs did have the firepower to take hits from the Greek Freak. A series between the two teams would have been dynamite.
Regardless, both parties are now recipients of rings that they completely earned. The debate can be waged about who trumps who, but for now, their laurels speak for themselves.
However, it be, “What ifs” shall always be a part of basketball. This shall be one of those too, for the Eastern Conference