Giannis Antetokounmpo's Insane Start Has Him in Elite Company

Last year's Most Improved Player award recipient has improved even more, if you can believe it, and it's putting him in historical company.

Is there any player in the NBA that is more aptly nicknamed than Giannis Antetokounmpo, who we've all come to know as "the Greek Freak"?

He's from Greece and he's an actual freak of nature. It's beautiful in its simplicity, isn't it?

He's longer and more athletic than most, does practically everything from well to amazingly (apart from shoot from distance), and can guard literally any player on a basketball court. Oh, and he's only 22 frickin' years old.

Last year, he won the NBA's Most Improved Player award, but you could argue that he's deserved it in each season since his rookie campaign.

And he's at it again this year. Here are his numbers four games into the 2017-18 campaign.

Season Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
2013-14 6.8 4.4 1.9 0.8 0.8
2014-15 12.7 6.7 2.6 0.9 1.0
2015-16 16.9 7.7 4.3 1.2 1.4
2016-17 22.9 8.8 5.4 1.6 1.9
2017-18 36.8 10.8 5.3 2.3 1.0

Ok, so the trend of every single stat going up might be broken this year, but that is still a ridiculous five-year trajectory, regardless of nitpicking.

He currently leads the NBA in, well, everything: minutes played (154), field goals made (58), field goals attempted (88), points (147), minutes per game (38.5), points per game (36.8), player efficiency rating (40.1), offensive win shares (1.0), win shares (1.2), box plus/minus (15.7), offensive box plus/minus (13.8), value over replacement player (0.7), nERD (1.9), and filthy game-winning blocks.

Oh, and he's third in free throws made (30), second in attempted (40), sixth in defensive rebounds (36), seventh in total rebounds (43), fifth in steals (9), seventh in field goal percentage (65.9%), ninth in rebounds per game (10.8), fifth in steals per game (2.2), and second in win shares per 48 minutes (.374).

It might not have been necessary to list every single one of those stats, but then again, it kind of was. I mean, look at them again. Just do it, I'll wait.

Suddenly, Antetokounmpo is the odds-on favorite to win the NBA MVP award this year. Yes, it's early. Yes, things might change. But also yes, it's ok to just enjoy the heck out of what this freak of a man-child is doing on the hardwood.

Besides, even with all the small sample size caveats you can throw around, Antetokounmpo is putting his name next to some pretty big ones in the history books.

Wow, Shaq and Wilt. Worth noting: those guys were humongous.

Michael Jordan? You don't say.

Get out! Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? That's kind of nuts.

So, that's Larry Bird, Steve Francis, and Russell Westbrook. Is that it?

Oh, and there's that, too.

Let's review: Giannis' season-to-date draws comparisons to five Hall of Famers and greatest-player-of-all-time contenders in Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, and Shaquille O'Neal, last year's MVP in Russell Westbrook, and, well, nobody? As in, he's doing things that no one in the history of the game has ever done and now stands as the precedent if anyone else in NBA history ever pulls off these ridiculous numbers?

Sample size be damned, Antetokounmpo looks like a player on the verge of becoming legendary.

Let's enjoy the silly, beautiful ride.