Giannis' Brother Takes to the Training Center Court Today
Who is Thanasis?
Technically it is Athanasios Antetokounmpo. But most people call him Thanasis Antetokounmpo for short. He is the slightly older brother of Bucks guard/forward/everything Giannis Antetokounmpo.
And today (if you are reading this on June 2), he will join a small group of NBA hopefuls in a pre-draft workout at the Cousins Center in front of Bucks staff.
Since there is a reasonable chance that your favorite player is Giannis, here are a few quick notes about Thanasis.
Some more background please?
Thanasis was born in Athens, Greece on July 17, 1992. At that time, he was not 6-6 or 205 pounds. He now is 6-6 and 205 pounds and plays shooting guard and small forward. He is 21 years old. He started his pro career playing for Filathlitikos in the Greek second-division in 2012, then he declared for the 2013 NBA Draft, before withdrawing. He played in the NBA D-League last season.
How well did he play last season?
He played for the Delaware 87ers in the NBA D-League last season. In 50 games (and 42 starts), he averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 29.3 minutes. He shot 46.9 percent from the field, 30.9 percent on threes, and 66.3 percent at the line.
In his final game of the season, he went for a season-best 28 points, seven assists, and two rebounds. You could even watch a full replay of that game here to see him within the flow of a game, rather than just highlights.
Thanasis seemed to enjoy the experience, and his decision to play a season in the D-League (rather than in Greece) leading up to the draft, via JS Online.
"I think it (the D-League) was great. People may not see it, but basketball-wise I had the privilege to play with pros. If I was in college basketball I would have played with college kids. I had guys who were draft picks that came down to the D-League... guys who had already played in the NBA and had a lot of experience came through the D-League."
It is always difficult to compare the college game to the D-League. The D-League is getting better and better. Right now, 149 current NBA players have D-League experience, which is a pretty fair percentage. Perhaps the most familiar name on the 87ers roster last season was Tiny Gallon, whom the Bucks had selected with the #47 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
What are his strengths?
Athleticism is a good start. He is an NBA-level athlete with a nice first step and ability to finish at the rim in transition. He isn’t quite as tall or as long as Giannis, but he still has nice size and a very nice bounce in his step for an NBA shooting guard. That athleticism and constant energy also has the good people at Draft Express optimistic about his defensive potential.
What else does Thanasis have to say?
Some refreshingly straightforward things about his year in the D-League, via Jake Fischer at Liberty Ballers.
"I was nervous in every game, but not nervous in a bad way. Nervous in a good way. Because if you’re nervous, that means you want to do good. I was nervous because I didn’t know if everyone would see how I can play. When I was back home, everyone would always say, ‘Oh, you’re really athletic and really fast.' I wanted people to see that I can stand out and make a difference. So it felt like I was playing in my first game the whole year."
Is he very good at dunking basketballs?
He is very good at dunking basketballs.
In fact, he squared off against Bucks D-League call-up Tony Mitchell in the finals of the 2014 D-League Slam Dunk Contest. (Mitchell won, but still.)
How did he fare at the combine?
Thanasis measured at 6-6.25 in shoes and 205 pounds. He registered a 7-0 wingspan, and only two people shorter reached that mark. Translation: He is long. And his 39.5 inch max vertical tied for 11th best of all prospects this season (among those who tested), ahead of guys like Aaron Gordon, ahead of most.
Where is he ranked by the draft experts?
Where do the Bucks pick in the second round?
In addition to the #2 overall draft pick, the Bucks also own #31, #36, and #48 in the second round.
What else could I click on to learn more about Thanasis?
Here is an enjoyable Instagram photo from Thanasis of the Antetokounmpo family from back in their day.
Here is a long-form feature titled Meet the Dela-weird 87ers via Grantland about his D-League sojourn and quirky teammates.
Here is an interview from the draft combine in Chicago via Draft Express.
Writing and the Bucks. Two of my passions. So it is good to be here. I have reported on media row for just about every Bucks home game since 2009. I started writing for the Bucks in 2012. Before that, I co-founded and wrote for BrewHoop. I have written for the Milwaukee Brewers, SB Nation, ESPN Milwaukee, Slam Online, and so on. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @alexboeder or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.