By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Dec 20, 2018 at 6:01 PM Photography: Dan Garcia

Turn down the thermostat and go down a layer of clothing, because here comes a scorching hot take: Giannis Antetokounmpo is a good basketball player. Dare I even say it ... really good.

And if you don't believe me – or your eyes or the stats or every basketball commentator spread throughout media – maybe you'll believe Bill Simmons, CEO, founder and writer at The Ringer, who broke a three-year hiatus and released his (at one time) annual NBA Trade Value rankings with none other than the Greek Freak ranked at the top. 

What are these rankings you may ask? Isn't this just basically a best-of rankings? Well, with the help of a somewhat arbitrary collection of rules (involving salaries, age, contract lengths, willing a non-existent NBA rule into the world and "concentrate on degrees"), Simmons ranks the most valuable assets in the league – not best player per say, since one could be the greatest in the game but have a wildly expensive contract or be nearing the end of one's prime, but truly the most VALUABLE component.

So yes, really, it's basically Simmons' version of a best-of rankings – but Giannis is at the top, graduating all the way up from 21 in the writer's previous rankings from back in 2015. Here's what Simmons had to say about our star:

"I say this respectfully: We aren’t there (yet), and it’s only because he still can’t shoot (yet). Not since early LeBron or Peak Julius have opposing fans ever been so happy to see someone settle for a 3 or an 18-footer. And yet …

"I mean …

"I’ve been going to NBA games for 45 years …

"I have never seen anything quite like Giannis in person."

Smiling? I am! So here's more praise:

"His body now looks like if an evil scientist had cloned Russell Westbrook, inserted silicone shoulder pads underneath his skin, elongated his appendages by 8 inches and just fed him red meat and electrolytes five times a day. His strides are twice as long as anyone else’s; he covers so much ground that it seems like he’s traveling on every play. The basketball looks like a golf ball in his hand. It’s almost unfair."

As for the rest of the Bucks, only Khris Middleton made it into Simmons' rankings, landing at No. 54 in between former Buck Tobias Harris and Marquette's own Jimmy Butler. 

Hopefully Giannis politely returns the favor to Simmons and his kind words this weekend by absolutely curb-stomping his Boston Celtics into oblivion on the road Friday night. Tip-off is on ESPN at 7 p.m.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.