Jason Kidd has flirted with playing second-year forward Giannis Antetokounmpo at the point guard spot since the team's run in the Las Vegas Summer League concluded this past summer. Near the end of Milwaukee's 91-85 loss to the Chicago Bulls Saturday night, Antetokounmpo was given the chance and relished the opportunity.
After starter Brandon Knight hit the BMO Harris Bradley Center floor hard and suffered a leg injury, Kidd decided to take the safe route by not putting him on the floor the entire second half.
Kendall Marshall took the floor for the Bucks as the second half got underway and started off nicely with two early assists, including a behind-the-back dimer to Ersan Ilyasova. But Marshall played sparingly down the stretch because Kidd wanted to prevent his minutes from getting too high.
"We kind of fell into it with B-Knight (Brandon Knight) being hurt and I didn't want to run up Kendall's minutes." Kidd explained afterwards. "So this was a perfect situation against a talented team to see what he [Giannis] can do at the point."
Antetokounmpo scored nine points in the fourth quarter while running the top spot to help give Kidd an extra boost at a position he was particularity thin at Saturday. Backup guards Jerryd Bayless and Nate Wolters (ankle) were two of six players for Milwaukee that were given the night off.
"I thought Giannis did a great job for us running the point, running the show, finding guys and also being able to find his shot," Kidd said, "with the minutes he played at the point, he did a lot of good things for us."
For the game, Antetokounmpo added 11 total points while grabbing five rebounds. He also added two blocked shots, one that eventually led to O.J. Mayo dropping it off to him on the other end for a slam-dunk over Aaron Brooks.
"Coach trusted me and gave me a good opportunity to play a little bit of point," Antetokounmpo said in the locker room.
"Last time I played was in the Summer League a little bit and in practice so it was an opportunity. But it wasn't about (playing) the point, you know? It was a tough game. We have to keep working on our craft and our game."
The Bucks never held a lead in the loss, but despite shooting just 35% from the field, Milwaukee still managed to keep the game competitive.
"We're a very young team, we're just trying our best. Everybody has got to correct not even two, just one thing, and we can take this thing to another level." Antetokounmpo said.
Giannis matched up against one of the most explosive guards in the league in former MVP Derrick Rose. The fatigue factor of the position is still something he's trying to get used to.
"It's for sure more tougher because the players have more experience (than Summer League). It's tiring because it's a little harder."
We'll see if Antetokounmpo continues to receive more minutes at the point guard spot with the regular season approaching. If Knight has to miss time (he said after the game that he is OK), or if Kidd decides to turn things up in the experiment, he'll have to prepare fast. The next point guard the Bucks will face? Kyrie Irving.