2013--14 RECORD: 15--67 (5TH IN CENTRAL) COACH: JASON KIDD (1ST SEASON WITH BUCKS)
Giannis Antetokounmpo is open to lining up anywhere, and Jason Kidd may just oblige him. The Bucks' new coach has surmised that the Greek Freak can play all five positions, including point guard, where Antetokounmpo started in the fourth preseason game. Yes, that would be a floor leader standing 6'11".
According to GM John Hammond, Antetokounmpo has grown close to two inches and added more than 25 pounds since being drafted as an 18-year-old, 190-pound project from Greece's second division in 2013. The No. 15 pick exceeded expectations by making the All-Rookie second team and showcasing disruptive perimeter defense as well as breathtaking finishing ability. With his varied skills and physical development, Antetokounmpo has quickly become a franchise cornerstone.
Now Milwaukee must decide what to do with him. Kidd, an alltime-great point guard, sees Antetokounmpo towering over defenders in the backcourt and using his length and strength to get to the free throw line. "He can start the offense," says Kidd. "He can go coast to coast—he is very comfortable with the ball in the open court." The idea of pairing Antetokounmpo at forward with another 19-year-old, No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, alongside defensive-minded center Larry Sanders, is intriguing too. With only three players over 26 and another long season ahead, the Bucks can afford to experiment.
17.9 PPG; 4.9 APG; 42.2 FG%; 32.5 3FG%
6.8 PPG; 4.4 RPG; 1.9 APG; 41.4 FG%
19.1 PPG; 8.7 RPG; 47.3 FG%; 35.8 3FG%
11.2 PPG; 6.2 RPG; 40.9 FG%; 28.2 3FG%
7.7 PPG; 7.2 RPG; 1.7 BPG; 46.9 FG%
11.1 PPG; 7.1 RPG; 1.7 BPG; 53.8 FG%
11.7 PPG; 2.4 RPG; 40.7 FG%; 37.0 3FG%
*ROOKIE (STATS AT DUKE)
Sanders has a bounce-back season; Kidd speeds up an athletic team that was only 24th in pace last season.
A frontcourt featuring four top 15 picks since 2010 fails to make the most of its extensive playing time.
A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE BUCKS
Jabari Parker is a pure scorer. He has a really good release on his jumper. Everyone says guys can improve as shooters when they enter the league, but it helps to have a strong base like Parker's. With his combination of shooting, posting up and dribble-driving, he reminds me of Jamal Mashburn. Initially it might be easier for Parker to play the four, but long term he has the ball skills to be a three.... Giannis Antetokounmpo is so talented with incredible length, but what is his defining skill? Is it ballhandling? Shooting? He's so young, but he'll need to develop an identity.... Larry Sanders blocks and changes shots as well as any big man in the league. He's long and quick and plays the pick-and-roll well. Offense is a struggle, though; he's not a post-up guy.... I like John Henson. Most players at his position are either stretch fours or bangers, but he doesn't fit either label. He is quick with a nice jump hook and pick-and-roll ability.... Ersan Ilyasova is a stretch four with a good shot fake. But he slumped last season, and he could be the odd man out in a frontcourt with a lot of young guys.... Brandon Knight, a shoot-first point guard, doesn't stand out in any way. He has to be more of a playmaker. And if he can't do that, then he needs to be a better scorer.... O.J. Mayo is another guard who looks to score. He'll help them if he can get back to the efficiency he showed with Dallas two years ago.... Kendall Marshall's strength is passing, but teams will keep going under screens until he proves he can make shots consistently.
The Bucks can build a D around Sanders.