The NBA announced this morning that Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo was named to the All-Rookie Second Team. Joining Giannis on the Second Team was Boston's Kelly Olynyk, Minnesota's Gorgui Dieng, Charlotte's Cody Zeller, and Oklahoma City's Steven Adams.
While being named (at best) the sixth best rookie in your draft class isn't overwhelming news, keep in mind that nobody really expected Giannis to be even be considered for a first or second team nod when the year began. The laundry list of areas he can improve in is still very long, but for now it's nice seeing one of the lone bright spots on the Bucks' roster get a little bit of acknowledgement from the national media.
Per the Bucks media release:
Antetokounmpo appeared in 77 games for the Bucks during his rookie season, averaging 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest, and finished among the rookie league leaders in scoring (11th), rebounding (T-4th), assists (T-10th), field goal percentage (9th), 3-point percentage (4th), free throw percentage (9th), steals (6th) and blocks (4th). He led the team in blocked shots on 22 occasions, second only to John Henson's 40 such games, and his 61 total blocked shots were most among all NBA rookies and the seventh-most by a Bucks rookie in team history. Antetokounmpo recorded two double-doubles during his rookie campaign, tallying a season-high 16 points and 10 rebounds on Dec. 27 at Brooklyn before scoring 13 points and grabbing a season-high-tying 11 boards on Jan. 11 at Oklahoma City.
On Jan. 29, Antetokounmpo was selected to participate in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, becoming the first Buck to represent the franchise at the league's midseason showcase since Jennings in 2011. Antetokounmpo tallied nine points, two rebounds and two assists in the game, and also competed in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of the All-Star Saturday Night festivities.
Antetokounmpo received 116 points, including 15 First Team votes, from a panel consisting of 125 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.
Fellow Bucks rookie Nate Wolters was left off any All-Rookie considerations (finishing with 20 voting points), but impressed many with his surprising contributions after being thrust into an impactful role once Brandon Knight's hamstring popped two minutes into the regular season. Knight eventually returned to the lineup, but Wolters' poise and high-IQ play earned him regular minutes throughout much of the regular season. After struggling with his jumper and losing minutes to Luke Ridnour at the start of 2014, Nate returned to the starting lineup after the all-star break and responded with vastly better shooting in March (52.5% from the field, 10/18 from three) before breaking his hand on March 20.
The NBA's All-Rookie First Team consisted of Philadelphia's Michael-Carter Williams, Orlando's Victor Oladipo, New York's Tim Hardaway, Jr., Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee, and Utah's Trey Burke.