Playing it safe was a real possibility for the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th pick in Thursdays National Basketball Association draft.
Get some help for a depleted backcourt. Take Shane Larkin or Sergey Karasev or Dennis Schroeder.
But Bucks general manager John Hammond had his eye on a potential all-star talent in 18-year-old small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, dubbed the Greek Freak after his talents started to become known last winter.
And Hammond decided to roll the dice on the youngest player in the draft.
Theres no question there were safer picks but nothing with this kind of upside, nothing close to this, Hammond said. Thats the key component of what we have here.
How are we going to get our next all-star? I dont want to put that on this kids shoulder, but I think he has that skill set to become that, if it all falls together for him.
The Bucks consider Antetokounmpo a small forward at 6-foot-9 and 196 pounds, but he has ball-handling skills of a point guard. Some NBA scouts have called him a poor mans Kevin Durant, comparing his game to that of the Oklahoma City Thunder star.
This kid is built like him, long arms and big hands, Bucks coach Larry Drew said. When you watch him move up and down the floor, youll see some resemblance.
But we cant put that kind of pressure on this kid. We have a lot of work to do with him, which we will.
The Bucks selected Larry Sanders at No. 15 in 2010, a move that paid off last season with the 6-foot-11 Sanders becoming a defensive force and finishing third in balloting for the leagues most improved player award.
But taking Antetokounmpo was an even bolder move.
He is thin, there is no doubt about that, Hammond said. But hes going to fill out just with natural maturation.
From the offensive end of the floor, I think he could find a way to be on the floor right now, at 19 years old (in December), and play. I think hes got to be a small forward.
Defensively with the lack of strength, he is going to have some issues to deal with there. Maybe we try to help him a little bit on the defensive end, if he does get on the floor.
But Hammond made it clear he wants the young player to be in Milwaukee next season.
He loves the game, Hammond said. He has a great smile and a great skill set.
There is a real transition period for him. Youre talking about a kid who has only been out of the country (Greece) one time. And that was a few weeks ago when he played with the Greek national team.
He wants to have his family here with him, and were going to work hard to have that happen.
The sooner we can get him on the floor, the better its going to be. You look at it and say, Is it going to be a D-League type situation? I hope not. The best thing to do is just keep him right here with us, be around NBA players, NBA games, NBA travel. Let him grow and develop.
If he hits, this kid could be special.
Antetokounmpo was at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the draft and went to the stage to pick up his Bucks hat from NBA Commissioner David Stern.
I know Im not ready; I have a lot of work ahead of me, Antetokounmpo said in a news conference at the Barclays Center. But Im not afraid.
I will give everything on the court, in the gym. And I will prove to the Milwaukee Bucks that they made the right choice.
Antetokounmpo is the son of Nigerian parents who immigrated to Greece and he was born in Athens. He played last season for Filathlitikos in Greeces second division and averaged 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26 games.
But the competition was hardly at an NBA level.
Still, his name started to be tossed about in NBA circles last December when league scouts first started to catch on to his emerging talent.
Hammond took a trip overseas to watch him, and the Bucks kept following him. Director of player personnel Dave Babcock scouted him recently when Antetokounmpo played for the Greek national squad.
We started watching him after Christmas and got excited about what we saw, Hammond said.
Hes 6-foot-9. I dont know how much bigger hes going to get. He loves to handle the ball. His favorite thing is to grab it off the glass, take it himself in transition and he has amazing vision.
He shoots the ball well. Were all giddy. Everybody is giddy on draft night. I remember when we drafted Brandon (Jennings) we said he had all-star speed and quickness.
But I do think this kid has potential all-star talent. He has an older brother and two little brothers; they just live in the gym. I know he has a real passion for the game, and I know he wants to be great.
Antetokounmpo signed a contract with a Spanish pro team in Zaragoza, but Hammond said that would not be a problem and a buyout would be done.
He did sign a contract, but most every international player has some buyout clause they deal with, Hammond said. He has the same sort of thing. The league allows us to do our part, and he has to do his personal part. Its basketball business.
But hes going to come right away.
Hammond admitted the Bucks now must deal with their depleted backcourt after passing on a number of candidates. Schroeder went 17th to Atlanta. Larkin was selected 18th by the Hawks but was traded to Dallas and 6-7 small forward Sergey Karasev was picked 19th by Cleveland.
We liked some of those players, Hammond said. We will answer that (the backcourt) in free agency. Thats what we have to do and we understand that.
If it was about need and being safe, wed take the backcourt pick. This was about taking the best player on the board.
Drew said he will be patient with Antetokounmpo.
I said John, He will not be there at 15, Drew said. This kid has a chance to be very special.
He does defend. He is very rangy at 6-9. He has been taught some defense over the years. He gets down in a stance and moves his feet. And you can tell he really wants to learn.
Weve got to get him stronger and get him adjusted to playing against stronger guys. But I really think this kid will learn fast. He wants to prove he can get better.
A1 Round 2 of Play-Offs. PAOK advance into quarterfinal stage - 10 hours ago
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Kolossos HH - AGOR 78-73 Kolossos outgunned AGOR to level the series at 1-1. The decider is scheduled for April 26th. The hosts trailed by 1 point after three quarters before their 21-15 charge, which allowed them to win the game. Kolossos HH dominated down low during the game scoring 38 of its points in the paint compared to AGOR's 16. They outrebounded AGOR 35-23 including 22 on the defensive glass. It was a great shooting night for Kolossos HH especially from behind the arc, where the... [read more]
Kolossos outgunned AGOR to level the series at 1-1. The decider is scheduled for April 26th. The hosts trailed by 1 point after three quarters before their 21-15 charge, which allowed them to win the game. Kolossos HH dominated down low during the game scoring 38 of its points in the paint compared to AGOR's 16. They outrebounded AGOR 35-23 including 22 on the defensive glass. It was a great shooting night for Kolossos HH especially from behind the arc, where they had solid 56.3 percentage. They looked well-organized offensively handing out 21 assists. 26 personal fouls committed by AGOR helped opponents get some easy free throw opportunities. The former international forward Panagiotis Vasilopoulos (202-84) orchestrated the victory by scoring 18 points and 5 assists. Christos Saloustros (201-90) contributed with 9 points and 10 rebounds for the winners. Kolossos HH's coach Aris Likogiannis used an eleven-player rotation in such tough game. American point guard Gary Talton (185-90, college: Ill.-Chicago) replied with 21 points and power forward Michalis Kamperidis (206-94, agency: Octagon Europe) added 8 points and 8 rebounds in the effort for AGOR. Top scorers: AGOR: G.Talton 21+2reb+3ast, H.Giannopoulos 12+3reb, M.Kamperidis 8+8reb+1ast, T.Fitzpatrick 7+5reb+2ast, R.Arnold 7+3reb+1ast, A.Christodoulou 6+2ast Kolossos HH: P.Vasilopoulos 18+1reb+5ast, J.Chuku 13+5reb, L.Hall 12+1reb+9ast, R.Ahonen 9+3reb+1ast, C.Saloustros 9+10reb+3ast, E.Watson 7+3reb
PAOK upset Lavrio on the road to sweep the playoff series. It looked good early as Lavrio took a 12-point lead at the end of first quarter. But then PAOK took control and eventually winning the game that evening by 10 points. Lavrio was plagued by 28 personal fouls down the stretch. American power forward Keith Clanton (205-90, college: Cent.Florida) scored 15 points and 9 rebounds (perfect from the field making all six shots) to lead the charge for the winners and Australian guard Nathan Sobey (190-90, college: Wyoming) chipped in 13 points during the contest. Five PAOK players scored in double figures. American Steven Gray (196-89, college: Gonzaga) responded with 19 points and his fellow American import point guard Zamal Nixon (186-89, college: Houston, agency: Two Points) scored 11 points and 6 assists. Both coaches used bench players which allowed the starters a little rest for the next games. Top scorers: Lavrio: S.Gray 19+2reb+1ast, A.Hamilton 11+4reb+1ast, Z.Nixon 11+4reb+6ast, S.Evans 8+7reb+1ast, D.Bolds 5+4reb, M.Perakis 5+1reb PAOK: K.Clanton 15+9reb, N.Sobey 13+4reb+2ast, I.Aska 13+2reb, Z.Peiners 12+3reb, V.Margaritis 10+4reb+4ast, A.Koniaris 7+2reb+5ast
Aris Thessaloniki (A1) inked 25-year old American guard Antwan Scott (188-81kg-92, college: Colorado State). He played recently at KTP Basket in Finnish Korisliiga. In 14 games he averaged impressive 22.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.9apg and 1.6spg this season. Scott also played for New Heroes Basketball Den Bosch in Holland earlier that season where in 11 Eredivisie games he had very remarkable stats: 20.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 5.5apg and 2.3spg. He has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summ... [read more]
Aris Thessaloniki (A1) inked 25-year old American guard Antwan Scott (188-81kg-92, college: Colorado State). He played recently at KTP Basket in Finnish Korisliiga. In 14 games he averaged impressive 22.0ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.9apg and 1.6spg this season. Scott also played for New Heroes Basketball Den Bosch in Holland earlier that season where in 11 Eredivisie games he had very remarkable stats: 20.6ppg, 4.5rpg, 5.5apg and 2.3spg. He has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2016. Among other achievements Scott's team made it to the MWC Tournament Semifinals in 2016. He received also NABC All-District 17 2nd Team award in 2016 at his college time. Scott graduated from Colorado State in 2016 and it is his first season in pro basketball.
Gaios Skordilis claims Greek A2 weekly honour - 2 days ago
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Gaios Skordilis (207-C-87, agency: Diamond Sports) put on an amazing game in the last round for Faros and that's him to receive a Eurobasket.com A2 Player of the Week award for round 27. The 29-year old center had a double-double of 27 points and thirteen rebounds, while his team outclassed Pagrati (#16, 2-25) with 61-point margin 164-103. Faros maintains the 4th position in Greek A2. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. Faros will need mor... [read more]
Gaios Skordilis (207-C-87, agency: Diamond Sports) put on an amazing game in the last round for Faros and that's him to receive a Eurobasket.com A2 Player of the Week award for round 27. The 29-year old center had a double-double of 27 points and thirteen rebounds, while his team outclassed Pagrati (#16, 2-25) with 61-point margin 164-103. Faros maintains the 4th position in Greek A2. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. Faros will need more victories to improve their 20-6 record. It's Skordilis' second year at Faros and it's hard to imagine this team without him. Gaios Skordilis averages this season 10.3ppg and 6.4rpg.
The second most remarkable performance in last round's games was 24-year old Lithuanian guard Dovydas Redikas (192-G-92) of Arkadikos. Redikas impressed basketball fans with 25 points, 2 rebounds and 5 assists. It was enough for Arkadikos to edge the higher-ranked Ethnikos (#6, 14-13) by 2 points 89-87. Arkadikos' 11th position in the standings has not changed. His team is not often considered as one of the league's best with a mere 10-17 record. Redikas is a newcomer at Arkadikos and it seems he did not have too much trouble to become one of team's leaders. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 16.6ppg (#4). His other stats are also decent: 4.1rpg and 4.0apg.
The third best performed player last round was Iaonnis Lekakis (196-F/G-90) of Pagrati (#16). Lekakis showcased his all-around game by recording 28 points, five rebounds and four assists in the last round. Despite Lekakis' great performance Pagrati lost 103-164 to the higher-ranked Faros (#4, 20-6). But his team cannot count on just a single shooter as he also needs help of the other teammates. Pagrati can only dream about fighting for top spots in the league. They have extremely bad season and 2-25 record places them at the very bottom of the standings. Too bad for Lekakis he does not play for a better team. But maybe if he did, his season stats would not be that high. Lekakis has a very solid season. In 24 games in Greece he scored 6.9ppg.
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
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