There's an old saying that's been passed down throughout the years that says, "Two Antetokounmpos is usually better than one. Should a person only have one Antetokounmpo, then they may feel incomplete and should seek to be whole when the time is right." It's very real and not at all made-up, I swear. The Bucks brought in Thanasis, the eldest Antetokounmpo today, and though adding Thanasis would be great for PR reasons, it's also rather interesting for basketball reasons.
"We wouldn't have had him in if our interest [in selecting Thanasis] wasn't sincere," said Director of Scouting Billy McKinney. "He had a good workout here today. He had a really good workout defensively. I like to call him an 'atomic dog' on defense. He just gets after you. He's one of those guys where he guards you so close that, when you go home at night, you look around you to see if he's still with you. He's pretty intense."
For Thanasis, he would love to play with his younger brother in Milwaukee, but for now all he can do is soak up everything he's being told and continue gaining experience, a little bit of advice that Giannis gave him.
"The only thing he's been teaching me is to keep experiencing things, because I'm experiencing things from him. So I'm just looking through his eyes and seeing things and talking about games; how opponents act...and how you can get people off their balance and their game."
Thanasis also added with a smile that his family is "praying for him every night" to join Giannis in Milwaukee, and selecting him isn't entirely out of the question. He's #40 on DraftExpress' mock board right now and the Bucks will possibly have an interest in a guy who can provide defense and energy, should they eventually choose to venture there with one of their three second round picks.
Joining Thanasis in today's workout were Oklahoma forward Cameron Clark, Seton Hall guard/forward Fuquan Edwin, Stanford forward Josh Huestis, Arkansas State guard Melvin Johnson III, and Duquesne forward Ovie Soko.
In other news, NBA.com's David Aldridge went into fascinating detail on the complicated arena situation that lies ahead for Marc Lasry and Wes Edens in Milwaukee and the tug-of-war taking place with surrounding counties. It's tough to summarize all of Aldridge's report in my own words, so I'll let his do the talking for me.
Kohl, Edens and Lasry pledged a combined $200 million toward construction of a new building - Kohl giving $100 million, and Edens and Lasry also pledging a combined $100 million. But at least $200 million more will be needed in public dollars to get the arena built. (Sacramento's new building, scheduled to be up in time for the 2017-18 season, is currently pegged at $447 million, for example.) And while Milwaukee officials, including Mayor Tom Barrett, have indicated the city is willing to commit public funds, county officials remain opposed - if not outright hostile - to any notion of helping pay for a new arena.
"I have not sensed a major change in public attitude toward the funding of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks since the proposed sale was announced," Milwaukee County Board Supervisor David Cullen said in an e-mail. "I would say that the public is pleased that both Senator Kohl and the proposed new owners have made a substantial financial commitment to the cost of building a new arena."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the public attitude doesn't swing towards a positive view as swiftly as the Bucks supporters would like. These people are going to need a hell of a lot more convincing, even if their first step towards doing so sparked a lot of optimism and good vibes. Moving on.
Racine, Waukesha and Ozaukee Counties have all passed resolutions in the last year strongly opposing any county dollars be used toward a new Bucks arena - though some business people in those counties support committing public dollars. The Racine Journal Times, in an editorial last month titled "Racine Shouldn't Pay For Milwaukee's Things," solidified that opposition.
Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig said by phone Saturday evening that, while a basketball fan, he remains steadfastly opposed to using his county's funds for Milwaukee's arena.
"In our particular case, the objection is that there's no economic value to our county," Ladwig said. "We don't get people staying in our hotels; we don't get people eating in our restaurants; we don't get people going to our bars. The economic value is to Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, in the sales tax. The value to our county is non-existent - I would say miniscule to non-existent. As a result of that, if Milwaukee and Milwaukee County want to provide public financing, that's fine. I'm not arguing that. But they get all the benefits."
Milwaukee County Board Executive David Cullen countered that by adding that he doesn't think Milwaukee should have to foot all of the public funding. However, he's also gotten the "bigger fish to fry" message more than anything else when it comes to putting public financing into Milwaukee.
"I've done three budgets, and I haven't increased the tax levy in the last three budgets," he said. "But by far, I get the most comments about, 'we are not going to pay for that arena. Good job.' Our roads are definitely in need of some repairs and upgrades and everything else. Would you rather have us spend $8 million a year to improve our roads, or pay for a new arena?' I'm guessing 95-5 [against the arena]."
The uphill climb still remains pretty steep for the new owners who brought so much goodwill to the city this past week. Let's hope that it is sustainable, because it doesn't appear like this tug-of-war is coming to a conclusion anytime soon.