(J Alexander Diaz/Los Angeles Lakers)

Latest Laker: Kostas Antetokounmpo's Two-Way Potential

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

He may have a famous last name, but Kostas Antetokounmpo is his own man and brings his own skill set to the Lakers, who signed him to a two-way contract on Monday.

The younger brother of reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kostas joins the Lakers after playing one season for the Texas Legends — the G League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks.

Antetokounmpo was productive on both ends as a rookie, averaging 10.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, while shooting 52.5 percent from the field. He also made two appearances with the Mavs.

A 6-foot-10, 200-pound big man, Kostas may have a thin frame, but he’s at his best when showing off his traditional big man skills.

He’s an effective pick-and-roll big, who has good pace and feel when rolling to the basket, as well as the athleticism and length to finish plays off with a bang. He ranked among the G League’s 71st percentile among P&R screeners, averaging 1.23 points per possession.

Antetokounmpo was also effective and comfortable shooting out of pick-and-pops, which is especially encouraging considering that perimeter shooting was not a strength last year. He attempted only one 3-pointer per game, and hit just 24.4 percent from deep.

His game was very much located at the rim, where he made an impressive 67.6 percent of his tries and threw down 61 dunks in 40 games. He was able to get airborne both in the half-court and in transition, using those long, runs-in-the-family strides to beat his man to launch position.

Antetokounmpo also made an impact on the offensive glass, where he grabbed nearly one-third of his rebounds, averaging 1.9 offensive boards.

Yet he may be further in his development on the defensive side, where his 7-foot-2 wingspan makes him a formidable obstacle for opponents.

Like his brother, Kostas’ length is his weapon of choice on defense and allows him to switch across positions and contain pick-and-rolls. A power forward who can toggle into some center minutes, Antetokounmpo has shown promising instincts as a rim protector.

Still just 21 years old, Antetokounmpo has plenty of growth in him as he prepares for a season of splitting time between the Los Angeles and South Bay Lakers.

But it’s just another step in the journey of a young man who grew up on the streets of Athens, Greece; won high school championships in Milwaukee; played collegiately in Dayton, Ohio; and spent most of last season playing G League ball in Frisco, Texas.

And while his skill set may be one of a traditional, rim-rolling, paint-protecting big man, don’t be surprised to see Kostas break out some familial traits with the occasional ball-handling or passing highlight.

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