Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing point guard tonight

Things are looking up for Giannis. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Things are looking up for Giannis. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

The day everyone has been waiting for has arrived: Tonight, the Milwaukee Bucks will start Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard. Per Charles F. Gardner of the Journal-Sentinel:

“In the open court, he’s special. In the half court, we need to find ways to make sure that he can help his teammates and also help himself.”

The bonus for Kidd and the Bucks is the increased confidence the second-year player is getting from being put in such a primary role. Wherever he plays during the season, the experience should be a huge benefit.

Sure, it’s only an exhibition game. And yes, Brandon Knight is sitting out with a groin injury suffered in Saturday’s loss. But still, Giannis at point guard is what this season’s dreams are made of. It’ll be exciting to watch Giannis make plays for his teammates and interesting to see how assertive he is both with the ball and verbally as the team’s decision maker on offense, but mostly it’ll just be fun to watch Giannis operate with the ball in his hands.

One thing that really stood out in Saturday’s loss was Milwaukee’s lack of players with special athleticism. They have a lot of guys who are capably athletic, but aside from the likes of Larry Sanders and probably Brandon Knight, Giannis is the only guy who can really wow on a physical level. That matters quite a bit. The Bucks looked overwhelmed and slow at times against some of the speedier, more aggressive lineups that the Chicago Bulls trotted out on Saturday. Even a player who may be the most talented Buck, Jabari Parker, had trouble navigating through Chicago’s swarming defense. He couldn’t move quick enough to get through it or jump high enough to get over it.

Those are the kinds of things that Antetokounmpo’s very specific set of skills allow him to do. He seems to find the cracks in defenses and stretch his rangy arms and legs through the open spaces. He’s captivated basketball fans to a degree no Bucks player in recent memory could even approach, largely because of some of his jaw-dropping moves that only a man with his combination of explosiveness, length and quickness could pull off. And he’s mixed that strength with some very obvious guile, in the form of clever Euro-Steps and heady passes.

The more Giannis has the ball in his hands, the more he’ll be comfortable on the court and the more the game will slow down for him. Once the game slows down, he’ll be able to make better and better decisions. And we’ve seen Giannis make some pretty awesome decisions already. It looks like Jason Kidd is excited as anyone about the decisions he could be making with another split second or two of improved processing time.

So tonight, he’ll get another shot with the ball in his hands.

Categories: Feelgoodery,ROTATIONS!

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  1. I’m impressed with Giannis’ rapid development thus far as an NBA player, and excited about his promise for the future, but I think we’re rushing him into roles for which he’s not ready.

    Even wih his flair for the spectacular, the Greek Antelope (as I call him) is still rough around the edges and unready for a major role or even a starting position with the Bucks. Let’s bring him along gradually off the bench with 20-25 minutes per game.

    He certainly isn’t ready to be running the show at point. Please, don’t rush him! Rather than thrusting Giannis into primetime too early, allow him to develop somewhat gradually over the next couple of seasons and enjoy the ride, so that he progresses more naturally and more smoothly.

    • You realize this is a preseason, game right? Kidd has said not to take anything he does here too seriously. Giannis won’t be starting at the 1 this season–hell I’d be surprised if he gets any minutes there period. Tonight’s just a another opportunity for Giannis to develop his multi-valent skills against real opponents and for us (more importantly the coaches) to see what he can do with the ball in his hands, as Jeremy pointed out in the article

  2. I think having a 6′-11″, athletic guy at the point guard position doesn’t make sense. Let him mature a couple years, add a few pounds of muscle and let him play the 3 or 4 position where his skills would be awesome on both defense and offense. You don’t see Kevin Durant playing point guard for a good reason. Having said that, I hope he does show some good passing and decision making ability, it always helps to have more options. This team needs to emulate the San Antonio Spurs, with crisp ball movement and motion offense to get good open looks and easy shots.

    • Durant did spend his rookie season at shooting guard. Perhaps it was helpful? Maybe it was hurtful? Ultimately, I think experimenting with young players is better than the opposite.

      In time, Giannis will demonstrate what position is best for him with his play on the court.

  3. Good move. Move Knight to the 2 which is his actual position. Giannis may be the team’s best ball handler NOW. He’s at his best when he has the ball more.The Bucks should make a splash and put the ball in the hands of it’s future best player now. Why wait? If he has some tough games so what? It’s better than having him lurk around the perimeter waiting for the ball all the time.

    Give him some time at the point and he’ll have a chance to be our Magic Johnson. We can build around that.

  4. if this were the regular season, and it was takin minutes away from a more natural point guard, then I’d be sayin WTF…… but its preseason, and knight is on the shelf this game……. so why not?