Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP, which means that he is widely regarded as one of the best players -- if not the best player -- in the entire league. However, the way that Antetokounmpo sees it, he's not even close to reaching his full potential as a player.
The Bucks failed to advance to the NBA Finals this past season, and Antetokounmpo views that as an indictment of his own skillset.
"There's a lot of things I can improve on," Antetokounmpo said, via ESPN. "First of all, [I have to] look at myself before I look at anybody else. Try to self-improve as much as possible. There are a lot of things that I got to work on in my game.
"A lot of people say, 'You are the MVP, you are one of the best players in the league, you are so dominant. But I think I can get better. I think I am at 60 percent of my potential, as good as I can be. I just want to be better. If I am in the same situation again [in the conference finals], react better, play the game better, play better, execute better."
If it were up to Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard would have remained with the Toronto Raptors rather than signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency so that the Bucks would have had an opportunity to avenge their Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Raptors. However, with Leonard now in the West, Antetokounmpo knows that his Bucks have an opportunity that they have to capitalize on.
"For me personally, I would love for Kawhi to stay in the East and stay in Toronto because I would love to go through the series [with them] again," Antetokounmpo said. "But unfortunately, this is the NBA we are talking about. Moves happen. People change teams. But we got an opportunity right now. We got to take advantage of it, and hopefully we can seize the opportunity and make big things happen."
Antetokounmpo will be a free agent in 2021, and his future is obviously a hot topic of conversation across the league's landscape. But Antetokounmpo's ultimate goal remains winning a championship, and ideally, he would like to do that in Milwaukee as a member of the Bucks.
"My goal is going to stay the same: It's get better, take it day by day, step by step, and the ultimate goal is to win a championship," Antetokounmpo said. "As long as that we are all on the same page and we are all focused on that goal, why not play for the Bucks 20 years, why not play 25 years? Why not, after playing, be a member of the coaching staff or a member of the front office? But we got to have the same goal. We got to have the same principles. ... We got to focus on winning a championship.
"I want to be a part of a winning team. As long as we have the same mindset and same approach to the game, there's no reason for me to move and not be like Steph [Curry], not like be like Dirk [Nowitzki] or Kobe [Bryant] or Tim Duncan."
Antetokounmpo's future will continue to be at the center of speculation, but he can't control that. What Antetokounmpo can control is his game, and the idea that a player that was downright dominant for large stretches of last season could improve by nearly 40 percent is a scary thought for the rest of the league.