Giannis Antetokounmpo is happy just where he is. The 18-year-old Milwaukee Bucks rookie never imagined being in the NBA and in a team's rotation at this point in his career.
When Antetokounmpo got drafted No. 14 overall in June, many assumed he'd spend much of his first season in the D-League. If you ask him or Bucks coach Larry Drew, that doesn't seem necessary at this point, via the Sporting News' Sean Deveney:
"For sure I would like to play here and not D-League," Antetokounmpo said. "If I go into the D-League and play 30 minutes, that is not for me. I don't know what it would do. If I play here, I go on the court for six minutes, the next game, I play seven. Then maybe nine. I will be happy. Then when I reach 10, 15, I believe for a 18-year-old guy, who has only played in second division in Greece, I believe 12, 15 minutes on an NBA team is nice. So I want to stay here and month by month, I get better, I play more, I can hit my maximum."
Drew added that while he would not rule out the possibility of sending the rookie to the D-League at some point, he is currently happy with the fact that Antetokounmpo doesn't shy away from playing against the best. Drew doesn't see nervousness from Antetokounmpo against more experienced players and thinks making mistakes on this level will help his growth more than playing against minor league players would.
Antetokounmpo, dubbed the Greek Freak because of his extremely long arms, huge hands and smooth athleticism, has impressed since arriving in Milwaukee. He made a huge impression in the preseason and is continuing to receive playing time now that the games count. Against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, Drew kept Antetokounmpo on the floor in the fourth quarter.
While he may be able to benefit from some time in the D-League at some point, right now he's the most exciting attraction for Bucks fans going to the Bradley Center.