The Bucks' starting lineup remains a topic of much debate, but we'll hopefully get more clarity over the coming weeks as the start of camp and real live preseason games (!) give us our first look at Jason Kidd's Bucks.
Still, there's been plenty of chatter this week about how the youngest Bucks may stack up positionally, starting with Jabari Parker talking to SiriusXM NBA Radio about his comfort at the power forward spot--and the expectation that he'll be spending most of his time there in Kidd's offense:
No shockers there, though Jabari at the four would also set up an interesting battle between Parker and incumbent Ersan Ilyasova in camp.
Also worth noting: Jabari's physique and offensive savvy have earned him more than a few comparisons to Paul Pierce, who just so happened to play the four spot for Kidd throughout the second half of last season in Brooklyn. Of course Pierce never spent much (or any) time at power forward during his Celtics prime, though Jabari does have the benefit of being 2-3 inches taller than the former Finals MVP.
Still, it begs some obvious questions. Will the Bucks find creative ways to keep their prized rookie from being eaten up by the David Wests and Zach Randolphs of the world? Will Parker be able to take advantage of those types of mismatches offensively? And will lineups featuring Parker and Larry Sanders as the primary bigs be able to keep opposing teams from running riot on the offensive glass? Discuss.
Basketball Insiders: Giannis Antetokounmpo talks Payton, Kidd and his future with Jabari
OK, so if we can likely pencil Jabari in at the 4 position, what about Giannis Antetokounmpo?
FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK.
Alex Kennedy's latest story features Giannis talking about all the things you'd be interested in hearing Giannis talk about, starting with (what else?) that whole point guard thing.
"I was comfortable playing point guard during Summer League, but the pressure and the [competition] level of Summer League is different," Antetokounmpo said. "Okay, there are some NBA players, but it's not the same. For sure, it's not the same [as the regular season]. So, let's see. Let's see how training camp goes. The guys are ready. Brandon Knight, who is one of our point guards, will sometimes give me the ball so that I can be the point guard and he can be more of a scorer. I'll just see how it goes in training camp, playing point guard, and then during the season see how I do."
What's funny is that Giannis seems to be fairly realistic about giving all of this a shot, while the story itself just seems to assume that, oh, right, Giannis is now going to be a point guard. Which strikes me as presumptive at best and naive at worst, but then again maybe that just makes me a killjoy. Afterall, Kidd himself--you know, one of the greatest point guards of all time--basically started all this talk back in Vegas, though it's worth noting that he seemed to back off it a bit on Thursday during an interview with WSSP:
"I'm not calling him a point guard, but he can start the offense."
So maybe the PG talk this summer was intended to motivate Giannis, or perhaps just to give the public something to be excited about, but this also isn't just the fever dream of a fanbase thrashing around in search of a floor general. Developing Giannis' point guard skills is one thing--and something all of us would like to see--but that's not necessarily the same as actually playing point guard for extended stretches. Whatever happens, all indications are that Giannis will have more chances to make plays with the ball in his hands this season, and that's a good sign regardless of how you want to label him.
Kidd also confirmed on WSSP that the Bucks had no intentions of hiring Gary Payton in any official capacity, implying that Payton was more or less winging it when he told the media in Greece last week that he would be working with Giannis in training camp. Sounds like Kidd is still open to his buddy making an appearance in Milwaukee, but he hadn't even talked to him about it since earlier in the summer. Whoever thought Gary Payton of all people would be inviting himself back to Milwaukee? Strange days, man.
Giannis also offered his thoughts on his newfound partner in crime--and not surprisingly his early impressions are all positive.
"I'm really excited we added him to the team because he's a great player and a great guy too," Antetokounmpo said of Parker. "I love playing with him and he's going to bring a lot of things to the team. He'll draw a lot of attention [from defenses] and there will be a lot of space, which will help me create. He's going to help me - and not just me, all of the team. He's going to make all of the team better because he's a really good player and he's a hard worker, who is going to make the rest of the team work hard too. That's the truth. Whenever I see our guys working, and not just Jabari, that really pushes me to work harder. Seeing a guy like Jabari always on the court and working hard, that makes me want to work harder and harder. I think he'll be really good for us this year."
So do we, Giannis.