At summer league, Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd surprised a few people when he played Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard. According to a report, the audition might have convinced Kidd to pursue this idea when the season starts, as Gary Payton is expected to work with Giannis as a special advisor when training camp opens.
Gary Payton is in Athens today and at an event held during the afternoon in the northern suburbs, he revealed that he has agreed with the Bucks to assume the role of ‘Special Advisor’ for Giannis Antetokounmpo next season. The “Glove” will start work during the pre-season at the end of the month, and said that he has met with the 19-year-old forward in Las Vegas, as well as with Jason Kidd, with whom he has a long friendship from the years they both played in the NBA.
Although this will be quite an adjustment for Giannis compared to the positions he played last season, he’s familiar with ball handling duties from his days of playing in Europe.
By way of Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, comes word Antetokounmpo is excited about the opportunity:
The 19-year-old Antetokounmpo, who enters his second NBA season this fall, clearly is relishing the chance to have the ball in his hands.
“I did it like two years ago in Europe, but last year I didn’t do it at all,” Antetokounmpo said of his rookie season in Milwaukee.
“As time goes on, I feel more comfortable.”
Asked if he could play the point in a regular-season game, Antetokounmpo quickly responded, “Oh, yeah. Sure.
“If I can do it here, I can do it anywhere.”
Whether the experiment works or not, this is the best time for the Bucks to find out what exactly Giannis can and can’t do. There are no expectations to win immediately in Milwaukee, and Giannis still projects to be at least a year or two away from becoming a polished NBA player.
Payton is the perfect mentor, not only because he was one of the best point guards in the league, but also because he has great defensive instincts, making the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team from 1994 to 2002 and winning Defensive Player of the Year in 1996.
Giannis is an athletic freak — hence the nickname — and if he can utilize his athleticism consistently on the defensive end, he can become a very scary player in this league. Even if the experiment to turn him into a full-time point guard fails, the partnership between Payton and the Greek Freak will likely still produce positive results for the Bucks.
Giannis might even learn how to talk trash from one of the NBA’s best ever.
What do you think?
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