clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Giannis Antetokounpo will play all 5 positions, says Jason Kidd

The Greek Freak will not only play more power forward this season but might also see time at the other four positions, according to his coach.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd is determined to test how versatile Giannis Antetokounmpo really is. He announced that the Greek Freak will not only slide up and down the two forward spots in the upcoming season but might actually see time at all five positions.

"He's 20 years old and he's going to play every position for us," Kidd said, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. "...He never complains. He just goes out there and plays."

Playing point guard one minute and center the next could be a daunting task. In fact, even sliding up to power forward to make room for Jabari Parker has been a challenge for Antetokounmpo, who seems to feel more comfortable at small forward.

"There are a lot of things being thrown at me right now, but it's good," said Antetokounmpo. "What's a better way to learn that spot than by playing it in the game."

Moving to power forward might be in the best interest of Antetokounmpo, who stands at 6'11 and whose frame will fill out with time. He could be a matchup nightmare at that spot. His quickness would allow him to switch onto perimeter players on pick-and-rolls while his length would allow him to contest shots against bigger players, as Pau Gasol can attest to.

On the other end, he will be faster and more explosive than the players guarding him, which should give him a chance to drive to the rim at will against slower defenders.

It might not be an easy transition but it's worth investing in it. As for playing at the guard spots or at center, that's a different story.

As thrilling as it would be to see the Bucks go super small with Michael Carter-Williams, O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, Parker and Antetokounmpo on offense, it would take a huge physical toll on Antetokounmpo to play that position on the other end. He is listed at 222 pounds, which means most centers would have a big size advantage over him. It's the reason Paul George is not thrilled with playing power forward.

The same applies to point guard. Kidd said he was going to use Antetokounmpo at that position last year but never went through with it outside of preseason. Antetokounmpo initiated offense at times and will surely handle the ball some next year but he's not suited to be a primary playmaker for long stretches. Asking him to do that would be setting him up for failure.

Antetokounmpo is just 20 years old and is insanely skilled, so it's understandable for Kidd to want to test his limits. If he actually does go through with it and plays him at all five positions that would be a fascinating experiment to watch, even if it might not be in the best long-term interest of Antetokounmpo's development.