Posts Tagged ‘Giannis Antetokounmpo’

Magic Johnson sees a lot of himself when he watches the Greek Freak, and that’s good news for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Much like Giannis Antetokounmpo today, Johnson’s rare combination of size and ball-handling skills allowed the point guard to thrive during the Showtime era of the 1980s, when he helped deliver five NBA championships to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, Johnson believes the 23-year-old has the potential to do for Milwaukee what Magic did for Los Angeles.

“Oh yeah,” Johnson recently told ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “With his ball-handling skills and his passing ability. He plays above the rim, I never could do that. But in his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates. That’s where we (have the) same thing. Can bring it down, make a pass, make a play.

“I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star Game because he deserves that. And he’s going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”

Currently ranked second in league scoring (his 28.4 points per game trail only James Harden‘s 30.9), Antetokounmpo’s all-around performance this season has even placed the Bucks superstar in the MVP conversation. According to Basketball Reference’s MVP tracker, Antetokounmpo is fifth with a 5.5 percent chance of earning the honor, trailing four-time winner LeBron James by just 0.3 percentage points (though they’re both well behind the favorite in Harden, who sits at 43.3 percent).

When told about Johnson’s flattering remarks, Anteokounmpo didn’t shy away from the spotlight, noting they simply reinforced what he had already believed.

“The craziest thing is that I believe that,” Antetokounmpo said. “But it’s even more believable when other guys see that, like Magic. Especially Magic seeing that, that’s big. Because it’s almost like, ‘OK, he sees that.’ So I’m on the right path, I’ve got to do what I’m doing.”

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Under this year’s new All-Star Game format, the leading vote-getter in each conference will be made a captain, and the two will then draft their respective teams from the pool of remaining All-Star honorees.

After the first round of fan voting, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has the inside track to earning Eastern Conference captain honors. There are still a ton of fan votes to be tallied before Antetokounmpo can start counting his chickens, but he already knows who he’d draft with the first pick. His choice won’t surprise you, but his reasoning might.

“If my teammates are available I’m going with my teammates,” Antetokounmpo told WISN’s Stephen Watson on Friday. “But if not, I gotta go with LeBron James, best player in the world, so we can have a good relationship for free agency.”

James, of course, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and has reportedly declined to commit to returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The popular consensus is that if he does ditch the Cavs it will be for a more glamorous market like Los Angeles. But in pure basketball terms, he couldn’t do much better for a new running mate than the transcendent, 23-year-old, 6-foot-11 unicorn who looks increasingly like his heir apparent.

“You never know,” Antetokounmpo said, “he might come play here.”

The Greek Freak has a fan in the Black Mamba.

Kobe Bryant was recently asked to name a few players whom he’s a fan of, and gushed about only one.

Giannis (Antetokounmpo) is really, really fun to watch,” he told SLAM on Monday.

“The way he plays the game and the passion with which he plays, I love watching Giannis play.”

Bryant, 39, added that the Milwaukee Bucks phenom plays with the “same passion and the same mean streak” he did during his illustrious 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, who retired Nos. 8 and 24 in his honor later that night.

“He’s aggressive, he’s always attacking at both ends of the floor,” Bryant said of Antetokounmpo.

Before the 2017-18 season began, Bryant challenged the versatile Bucks star to win the Most Valuable Player award.

The 23-year-old is currently in the MVP conversation, but not considered a favorite. He leads the fifth-place Bucks with 29.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks over a league-high 38 minutes per outing.

Say what you will about Milwaukee, but Giannis Antetokounmpo loves it.

The Bucks phenom has rapidly developed into a superstar, and this young season has made a better case than anyone that he’s the league MVP.

Antetokounmpo, 22, believes his adopted city suits his personality, and is probably conducive to his on-court success.

“I’m a low-profile guy,” he told The New York Times’ Marc Stein. “I don’t like all these flashy cities like L.A. or Miami. I don’t know if I could be the same player if I played in those cities.”

That figures to be music to the ears of Bucks nation, as Milwaukee is one of the NBA’s smaller markets and, as such, tends to have a tougher time luring and keeping stars. There was offseason speculation that teams were plotting to poach Antetokounmpo, who responded with this tweet:

The Greek Freak has already shown loyalty to the club that drafted him 15th overall in 2013, giving the Bucks a discount on a four-year, $100-million contract extension last year to keep him in Wisconsin through 2021.

He said he “can take this organization to the next level and bring that championship.” While Milwaukee isn’t a title contender given its roster holes – including a lack of shooting and speed – Antetokounmpo is doing his part, and more.

Following a breakout campaign that saw him earn his first All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive nods, the versatile 7-footer is putting up a league-leading 31.3 points on 60 percent shooting to go along with 10.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game for the 4-4 Bucks.

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Charles Antetokounmpo, the father of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, has died, Bucks general manager Jon Horst announced Saturday.

The Bucks family is heartbroken about the sudden death of Giannis’ father, Charles. The entire organization, his teammates and coaches are here to support Giannis and his family during this incredibly difficult time. Charles was a big part of the Bucks and will be terribly missed by us all. On behalf of ownership, we express our utmost condolences and offer our prayers to Giannis and his family.

Charles, who was 54 years old, is also the father of EuroLeague player Thanasis, Dayton Flyers freshman Kostas, and high school prospect Alexis. He reportedly suffered a heart attack at home Friday in Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Rick Barrett.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo may have “loyalty inside his DNA,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean the 22-year-old phenom will remain in Milwaukee for the entirety of his career.

The Bucks forward was non-committal when asked about his future in Milwaukee, saying that many players have expressed their desire to stay in a particular city before bolting for greener pastures.

“A lot of people say they’re going to stay on a team and decide to move to a different team,” Giannis said at a recent event in Manila, Philippines. “But you guys got to remember: A guy might want to stay on a team, but the team doesn’t do the right things and the right moves for the player to become great.”

The 2017 All-Star added that Kevin Durant gave every indication that he planned to stay with the Thunder, but ultimately left Oklahoma City after the team failed to win a title.

“KD, the reason he wanted to stay in OKC was to win, right? So, they didn’t win the championship,” Giannis said. “That’s why he decided to leave. So do not hate only the player, because sometimes it’s not up to the player.”

While Giannis’ comments may be a little unsettling for Bucks fans, the 6-foot-11 forward still has four years remaining on his contract, and he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2021.

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Joel Embiid fancies himself a floor general.

The 7-foot rookie currently plays center for the Philadelphia 76ers, but he hopes to be manning a different position when it’s all said and done.

“By the end of my career I want to be a point guard,” he told reporters after Tuesday’s 93-91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, as quoted by Liberty Ballers’ Kyle Neubeck.

Point guards are traditionally smaller guys, but as the league trends toward position-less basketball, we’re seeing more big playmakers – think 6-foot-11 Milwaukee Bucks phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo – and undersized bigs like Utah Jazz power forward Boris Diaw, who began his career as a shooting guard.

Embiid has started at center in all 23 of his contests this campaign and played every single minute at the five-spot. He’s dominating as a young up-and-coming frontcourt player with some playmaking skills to boot; he’s shown he can draw in defenders and pass out to teammates who are in optimal position to score.

“The Process” is the front-runner for Rookie of the Year, averaging 19.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, and 1.9 assists in 25 minutes a night. Fellow big man DeMarcus Cousins said last week that Embiid has a chance to be the best center in the NBA … after he retires. Never short on confidence, Embiid responded saying he doesn’t think he’ll have to wait that long.

The 22-year-old figures to have plenty of time to excel in all positions if he wants to. Coming off multiple foot surgeries that delayed his NBA debut for two years, Embiid declared in the preseason he plans to play at least 20 years in the league.