As the Greek national team enters its final weekend of tune-ups before next month's European Championships, Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking...well, fully tuned up.
The Greek Freak stayed hot from deep against an overmatched Netherlands team on Friday, following up his 3/6 performance against Bosnia last weekend by burying 3/5 threes and adding a tidy 5/6 inside the arc to finish with a game-high 22 points in Greece's 92-80 win. Giannis added six rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a +27 rating in a shade over 25 minutes.
Admittedly we shouldn't take any of this stuff too seriously -- it's a friendly that doesn't "count" towards anything, and no one is going to claim the Dutch as any sort of hoops powerhouse (what happened to the nation that brought us Rik Smits, Dan Gadzuric and Francisco Elson???). But confidence doesn't have an off-season, and watching Giannis stroke 6/11 triples over the past two games is something worthy of late August high-fives in Bucks Nation. Twelve months after cutting his national team teeth at the FIBA World Cup, Giannis has looked the part of Greece's best player over the past few weeks, and their hopes of making real noise next month depend in no small part on him thriving in an expanded role. Whether that confidence spills over into the NBA season isn't clear, but early signs suggest we're watching a player increasingly ready, both physically and mentally, to embrace something bigger.
Next up for the Greeks: a 1:15 CT rematch on Friday with Turkey, whom they lost to a couple weeks ago.