Antetokounmpo on Bucks' chances: 'Things are not going to be given to us. We have to go and take it.'

NBA: All Star Practice
NBA: All Star Practice

For a team that is 35-21 and sits as the three seed in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks do not strike fear around the league. It's because their defense has been in the bottom 10 in the league for much of the season, their +3.1 net rating overall is 11th in the league.

All the change around this team — from bringing in Damian Lillard at the start of training camp to Adrian Griffin being fired as coach and Doc Rivers replacing him — has not led to an aura of stability. Giannis Antetokounmpo talked about how much all the change has shaken this team, speaking with Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

"It's been hard because so many changes, so many injuries, so, so many things," Antetokounmpo told The Athletic. "A lot of things, up and down. Changes, as I said, game plan, structure, all of the BS.

"We can start from f****** ownership, changed. Coach, changed. Coach, changed again. Star players, changed. From Khris [Middleton] being in and out. Like so much f****** s***. It's just up and down. Up and down. So many things changing, man. But we got to stay together, I don't like to victimize myself. I don't like to feel bad about myself. That's not who I am."
Antetokounmpo also believes these Bucks can turn things around.

"I feel like I don't want to look back and be like, 'Damn, I had some great teams and I wasn't able to get over the hump.' We have to stop feeling bad about ourselves. I'm tired of this. We have to stop doing that. Things are not going to be given to us. We have to go and take it. Like I've played with guys that never felt bad about themselves. Came in, did their job, went home, did their job, went home, did their job. That's what we have to do. We're not doing it right now, but hopefully we can do it."

Antetokounmpo has not been the problem, he is having one of his best seasons ever — and if the Bucks do make an end-of-season push under Rivers Antetokounmpo could find himself in the MVP discussion. He is averaging 30.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.4 assists a game with an insane 65.1 true shooting percentage.

Since Rivers' arrival, the Bucks may be 3-7, but they have the 12th-best defense in the league, a dramatic improvement. The offense has struggled in those 10 games, but any team with Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard will score points. If the Bucks' offense can be elite while the defense is just above average, with Antetokounmpo playing like this, the Bucks have a chance. It's difficult to believe that for the final 26 games they can suddenly flip the switch, but the talent on this roster is too great to ignore.

The Bucks are optimistic coming out of the break they can put all the change and turmoil of the first two-thirds of the season behind them and make a run. The talent is certainly there, they just need to start playing up to it.