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Bucks’ rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo is still physically growing

Dec 3, 2013, 1:32 PM EDT

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

When measured at Adidas EuroCamp last year, Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo measured 6’9” with a reported 7’3” wingspan. Plus he has freakishly large hands.

But he’s going to end up bigger than that — he’s still growing. That according to a story about Antetokounmpo in the Journal Times (hat tip to the still growing Zach Harper at Eye on Basketball).

Not only is Antetokounmpo’s game growing, so is his body. When the Bucks drafted him in June, he was 6-9. Now, just more than five months later, he has added more than an inch to his lanky frame.

“I am now 6-10 and one quarter,” Antetokounmpo said smiling…

Indeed, doctors have informed Antetokounmpo and Bucks officials that the former’s growth plate is still open. In all likelihood, he’ll become a 7-footer.

If you want to know why there is such a buzz around Antetokounmpo, check out this play against the Celtics from over the weekend.

There are a handful of guys in the league who could make that block on one end, run the floor and throw it down at the other. He is dynamic to watch.

And also very, very raw. He is coming out of the second division of the Greek league, which is a borderline basketball backwater by NBA standards. Between the dramatic changes in the level of play on the court and the adjustments off it (Milwaukee is not Greece) the Bucks are being careful to bring him along slowly. They want to maintain Antetokounmpo’s confidence and help it grow. It’s the smart play, even if the rest of us are impatient.

Few things are much more fun for NBA diehards like us (if you read this far into this post, you pretty much qualify) than watching a player grow and develop. With Antetokounmpo the learning curve is insane — he is starting from such a relative low point and his ceiling is nowhere to be seen. He could grow into a real NBA star, the kind of guy where even your Mom will know who he is. Even if she can’t pronounce his name.

Just everything about Antetokounmpo is still growing — and hard to take your eyes off of.

  1. pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 3, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I don’t like comparing anyone to Durant but this guy reminds me a lot of him with his skills and build.

    He can pass, shoot, handle, run and defend. Durant was definitely (much) more polished at 19 though. Curious to see how he does in 3 years.

  2. miamiheatdynasty - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Wow.

  3. boiler72 - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    As a life-long Bucks fan, I’m thrilled we drafted him. Now, they better not trade him mid-season for some useless JJ Reddick-type, just to get the 8th seed.

    I’m going to the game this Saturday night vs. the Nets and he better get at least 25 minutes of play!

  4. jamesk2465 - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I see more of a Nicholas Batum in his game than a Kevin Durant

    • theromeo2k - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      If Batum could play Defense like this guy, he’d be an Allstar…

      • jamesk2465 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        Nic does play Defence. Only reason why he’s never been one is cause he hasn’t put a consistent yr on the offensive end

    • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      I see more Luol Deng than either of those guys.

    • lavoysboy - Dec 21, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      I see this kid as a small forward version of Rajon Rondo. Both are lengthy, extremely athletic, can run the floor, play really good defense, and have good court vision. However, both can’t shoot very well. Both of their hand sizes are huge, which makes it harder for both players to ever shoot high percentages further than 10 feet from the basket.

  5. ramrodmclean - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Haha, great headline. It’s perpetually breaking news. It’s happening right now. And now. Now too! When will it stop?!?!

    • peterjohnjoseph - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      As of right now Chinese families in Milwaukie are running for their lives. They’ve seen this before.. A big green monster that won’t stop growing. After many sequels they’ve learned their lessons through high end car insurance on small cars that crush easily, and getting out while they can. Sure, 6’9 last month, 6’10 now. Just the beginning. Ask the Celtics. They got ran over already.

    • pbtunpaidwriter - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Lol its more an FYI than breaking news. And you read it…

  6. DonKellyBaby - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    He was one of the few guys I liked coming into this draft. 3 years from now, the Bucks will have steal in this guy. Hopefully, they will be able to keep him for that long though.

  7. spursareold - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    I think this is not necessarily a good thing. I’ve watched very tall young men, probably still growing, come into the league over the last 15 years, and develop non traumatic injury knee problems. Jonathan Bender, Amare Stoudemire, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum. I think they throw these kids into the fire playing heavy minutes before they are done growing and the pounding they take with open growth plates causes the chronic knee issues.

    They need to bring him along slowly, not just for his confidence, but for his future health. If he went to college, he would play 35 games, maybe 30 minutes per game. That’s 1050 minutes. If you spread that out into an NBA season, though, you can only play 12.8 minutes for 82 games.

  8. roanboon - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Good thing Ernie Grunfeld is in Washington so he can’t trade him away for an old veteran 1 year from retirement.

  9. genericcommenter - Dec 4, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Did you mention that he’s 18? A lot of people are still growing at his age. Wasn’t Dennis Rodman supposedly like 5’9 when he graduated high school and then went to work a menial job and had a growth spurt before playing in college? I know I was still packing on the inches when I was 19 or so.

  10. tfyjman - Dec 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Some guys get all the luck. He’s 19 and already 2-3 inches shy of being a tower, and STILL growing? I hope he doesn’t grow too much though and be relegated to playing the cool, yet underplayed/marginalized position of center. He’s good right where he’s at playing something between a swingman and cornerman.

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