18-year-old Greek phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo has caught the NBA world by storm this preseason thanks to his dazzling athleticism, flashes of immense potential and freakishly large hands. While his overall statistics are nothing special, it has been easy to see why so many people are intrigued by the springy 6'9 wing.
The plan when Antetokounmpo was drafted was to bring him along slowly, but with injuries to several key rotation players, the youngster got a chance to play more minutes than expected this preseason. And much to the delight of Brew Hoop, SB Nation's Bucks blog, Bucks general manager John Hammond recently stated in an interview with ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz that he felt Antetokounmpo could make an immediate impact.
But in the words of Lee Corso, not so fast.
New Bucks coach Larry Drew may not be quite ready to make Antetokounmpo a part of the regular rotation, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Drew has liked what he has seen out of Antetokounmpo, but the coach says there's still plenty for the 18-year-old to learn, which means he may not see regular-season playing time right away:
"I think he's made the most of his minutes in the preseason," Drew said after a workout Tuesday at Attack Athletics on Chicago's west side. "Still there's a lot he has to learn.
"He has to learn the pace and the speed at this level. We're still trying to work with him from the language side of it, making sure he understands our terminology. I can see at times he's still lost out there, but that's going to be part of it with an 18-year-old kid coming from a different country.
"He has definitely shown some flashes. But we just have to continue to work with him and hopefully he can get to the point where we can get him out there."
Drew absolutely has a point, considering Antetokounmpo has shot just 34.8 percent from the field this preseason and is averaging nearly three turnovers a game. Antetokounmpo also must learn the intricacies of NBA team defense, which can be difficult for a young player.
But it would really be a shame if Antetokounmpo is completely shut out of the rotation to start the year, especially because the Bucks are a middling team with essentially no title hopes. Putting too much responsibility on Antetokounmpo would be a mistake, but it would likely be beneficial to his development if he got some consistent minutes off the bench.
It would also be really fun for us to watch him play, so we implore you, Larry Drew: Play Giannis!