The Milwaukee Bucks have a starting point guard in Brandon Knight, if they want to be traditional.
However, the Bucks have an untraditional talent — Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s a 6’11” two-guard who runs the floor like a gazelle, plus he has handles, the ability to drive, and good court vision. All that open up a lot of possibilities.
Like Antetokounmpo the point guard (not just a point forward, but playing the one). Jason Kidd tried it out at Summer League (with mixed results, he averaged 17 points a game on 40.2 percent shooting, plus 3.3 assists a game) and now is going to try it out some during the NBA season. The Bucks are so invested in the idea they are bringing in Gary Payton as a consultant to work with him.
“I’m not going to say I was shocked by it,” Antetokounmpo told Basketball Insiders when asked about the move to point guard. “It’s something that I feel comfortable with and I’ll play wherever Coach wants me to play, especially when it’s Coach Kidd who thinks that I can play point guard. That makes me feel like, ‘I can play it. I can play point guard.’ I’m going to try my best and just listen to Coach. I’ll do whatever Coach says to do and I’ll get more comfortable.”
As for Gary Payton and Kidd working with him.
“Oh man, it’s really important and nice, since they’re some of the best point guards in NBA history,” Antetokounmpo said of Kidd and Payton. “Not only are they great point guards, they’re great basketball players and can help us all basketball wise. Whatever they say, that is what I’m going to do. I’m so happy to have guys like them as I figure out the position and to have them teach me. I’m really excited. I’ve talked with Jason Kidd and he’s a really good coach, but he’s also a really great guy. He treats us really well.”
This is the kind of experiment the Bucks need to try — they cannot think inside the box. Simply put, Milwaukee is not the market elite free agents will flock to unless another star is there (and of course, plenty of money). Think Cleveland with and without LeBron and how Kevin Love viewed it. If the Bucks are going to build an elite team they need some big hits in the draft, which they hope Jabari Parker will be.
But Antetokounmpo can be special because of his talents and because he just does not fit the mold. If he is a 6’11” point guard (or even a two guard with the ball in his hands, ala James Harden) that could be a unique piece.
It’s also a process. They can’t just try it a little in camp and abandon it. They need to give it shots during the season and suffer through the growing pains (this is asking a lot of Antetokounmpo).
Good on Kidd and the Bucks for trying it. Good on Antetokounmpo for buying in. It’s going to be interesting to watch