Giannis Antetokounmpo will captain a squad against LeBron James this weekend in Charlotte in the second year of the new NBA All-Star Game format.
The Bucks star is one of the frontrunners for the MVP award, along with James Harden and Paul George, and has become one of the league’s most dominant forces. Antetokounmpo is one of the rare players to seemingly achieve their full potential after being considered a significantly talented, but extremely raw prospect coming out of Greece.
Milwaukee took a flyer on Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, in hopes that one day he could transform from a lanky teen into a superstar. It’s a gamble that’s paid off and six years later Milwaukee seems poised for a deep postseason run in the East behind Giannis. TNT will air a documentary on the scouting process that led the Greek prospect to become a first-round pick this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET, and Jonathan Givony of Draft Express offered a snippet of the doc on Twitter on Wednesday about how he came to discover the Greek Freak.
The clip is interesting in showing how even in 2013, international scouting was something of a crapshoot in terms of prospects needing someone prominent to be willing to come check them out and get their clips out there on the internet. The funniest part, though, is his agent explaining how 29 NBA teams eventually had some contingent come look at the young phenom, with the lone exception being the New York Knicks.
The Knicks ended up having the 24th overall pick in 2013, so it’s not as if they passed blindly on Antetokounmpo, but given that the young Greek star’s stock was all over the place it seems odd they wouldn’t at least send some scouts or executives to check out a player like him given how much buzz there was about his raw potential.
The 14 teams ahead of the Bucks in that draft would all likely take a do-over if they could, but as is always the case with the draft, hindsight is 20-20. Antetokounmpo was a gamble, but a calculated one at 15. Milwaukee is reaping the benefits now and hopes that will be the case for years to come.