MILWAUKEE -- Like many fans around the NBA, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo watched the announcement of the NBA All-Star reserves on Thursday night.
His teammate Khris Middleton earned another All-Star nod, with Antetokounmpo serving as a team captain for the second straight year. But with the Bucks off to their best start in franchise history, he believes others on the squad got snubbed.
"I want to be honest. I feel like at times that we don't get as much respect and it's OK, we haven't earned anything, at the end of the day," Antetokounmpo said during shootaround, ahead of Friday's game against Denver. "I think [Eric Bledsoe] should've made the team. We have a great team. We have guys that don't play a lot of minutes.
"Bled could average 20-25 points if we actually played a lot of minutes but we didn't. He's sacrificed also, a lot for this team and is one of our leaders," he continued. "Not just Bled, and Brook [Lopez] also. I wanted Bled to be on the team, the whole team wanted Bled to be on the team because he's definitely deserving, but this team is unselfish. Guys that are on this team, they just play to win and even though he did not make it, he's going to come out tonight and for the rest of the season give his best and help this team be successful."
In the past 10 seasons, the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors (41-7), the 2015-16 Warriors (44-4) and the 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks (40-8) are the three teams that have produced at least three All-Stars with 40 or more wins at the break.
Milwaukee is 41-6, but Antetokounmpo believes the perceived snub could bring even more motivation.
"We're not done," Antetokounmpo said. "We've got a long way to go. We're on pace, we can probably win 70 games, but at the end of the day, we've got to keep getting better. I think the team is getting better game by game and we're definitely motivated. We haven't done nothing. Not trying to take anything away from the games that we won, but we've got a long way to go and I've said in the past, but I'll say it right now that our goal is to play in June and be the best team we can be at that time."
NBA All-Star Weekend is set for Feb. 14-16 in Chicago with Team Giannis matching up against Team LeBron. The captains will make their picks on Feb. 6 during the 2020 All-Star Player Draft.
Antetokounmpo currently holds the highest scoring average in All-Star Game history with 28.0 points per game. He is happy to see Middleton get another opportunity to perform on that stage.
Middleton went off for a career-best 51 points without Antetokounmpo during Tuesday's 151-131 win against Washington.
"It just proves that the first time really wasn't a fluke," Middleton said. "I earned it last year. I again earned it this year so it's definitely just a proud moment, not only for myself but for this team. We've got two All-Stars but we should've had three or four I thought, but it's still a great feeling."