The EuroBasket tournament kicked off on Saturday and Greece opened the group stage with an 85-65 blowout win over Macedonia. Greece’s highlights included Giannis Antetokounmpo throwing down this dunk and then hanging on the rim completely horizontally, the kind of display of freakish athleticism that NBA fans have grown used to in his first two seasons with the Bucks:
This should get Bucks fans excited for the upcoming season.
Westbrook went undrafted out of South Dakota in 2012 and has played overseas and in the D-League since.
He’ll give Milwaukee 17 players, but just 14 15 of them have guaranteed salaries. So, Westbrook will join Jorge Gutierrez and Marcus Landry (both of whose contracts are fully unguaranteed) in competing to supplant a guaranteed player for a regular-season roster spot.
The Bucks already several players capable of playing Westbrook’s position, shooting guard: Khris Middleton, O.J. Mayo, Rashad Vaughn, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jerryd Bayless and even one of Michael Carter-Williams or Greivis Vasquez in bigger lineups. Without a clear need for him, Westbrook will really have to impress to stick past the preseason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scores career-high 22 points with Greek national team (VIDEO)
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 22 points in 25 minutes in a friendly against the Netherlands on Friday, a career high for the Greek national team:
Going into his third year for the Bucks, there’s been talk that he’ll play some center this year. If he can put his skill set together into an effective offensive game like he’s shown at times, he could become one of the most unguardable players in the NBA. The flashes are already there.
Giannis Antetokounmpo blocks shots, knocks down threes for Greece (VIDEO)
The Bucks’ future cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing for Greece this summer as they gear up for EuroBasket next month (an Olympic qualifying event). While that comes with an injury risk, for a raw young player like Antetokounmpo more time on the court is simply a good thing.
In this video from a friendly against Bosnia, Antetokounmpo is blocking shots and knocking down threes (hat tip Eye on Basketball and BrewHoop).
Blocking shots we expect to see.
However, the 3-of-6 from three in this game for Antetokounmpo is interesting. Last season he took just 44 threes in total (hitting seven) after being instructed to attack the rim by coach Jason Kidd (50.6 of his shot attempts were within 3 feet). As a rookie, he showed potential from the outside (35 percent from three) but he’s going to have to force opponents to respect his jumper to open things up.
Hitting threes in a friendly international against Bosnia and knocking them down against the Cavaliers or Bulls during the season are very different things, but this is a reason to be optimistic.
Bucks’ GM believes team has six-man core of the future
Jabari Parker. Giannis Antetokounmpo. Greg Monroe. Michael Carter-Williams. Khris Middleton. John Henson.
Last season, with four of those six in place (Parker was injured most of the season, Monroe was in Detroit) the Milwaukee Bucks took a big step forward into the playoffs. They did it with great defense and the guidance of Jason Kidd.
Can they take another step this season? They should have an improved front line and offensive punch with Parker healthy and Monroe in the fold as a free agent. However, they Bucks sent veteran voices like Jared Dudley, how much will they be missed?
We’re trying to build around some kind of consistency with the nucleus of Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe and John Henson. Those six guys are the young core that we look and say that’s kinda the future of this organization, and that’s not discounting anyone else. Other players have to step and become a part of that group with us. But those guys are the group we hope we can build some kind of continuity with.
While we can debate whether guys like Henson or Carter-Williams are part of the long-term core for them, Hammond is spot on about continuity. But more than just continuity of roster, there has to be continuity of system and style. You can keep the same players, but if you change coaches and systems as often as Sacramento, it’s not going to matter.
Let these guys grow together and see what they can become under Kidd. They are still a few years away from being a threat to Cleveland (if they get there at all, we’ll see where their trajectory takes them) but the Bucks have to be patient and let it all play out.