UPDATE: I guess The Athletic’s Shams Charania didn’t want Brew Hoop to scoop him, so he posted the customary tweet, making this a story that’s no longer a rumor. Which honestly, is unfair to Eurohoops, but there you have it.
When I saw this tweet over the holiday, my exact reaction was “...excuse me, what?”
https://t.co/fgVRKDLa0J : Greek Newspaper reporting Thanasis Antetokounmpo will reportedly be signing a 2 year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks on July 6th https://t.co/CA3XxwoEC7 pic.twitter.com/RXAe8O7puG— BasketBlog.com (@BasketBlog_com) July 4, 2019
Maybe it wasn’t the most reliable outlet for breaking NBA news, but it made it’s way to my feed regardless. Of course, all news makes its way to the rest of Bucks World quickly. Here are some comments from around the Brew Hoop water cooler when it comes to the unexpected (and somewhat hard to believe) reports regarding Thanasis Antetokounmpo, brother of NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Milwaukee Bucks roster:
I’ll believe the Bucks are signing Thanasis when Woj or Shams report it. Don’t trust that report. Thanasis is just not NBA quality. – LastFirstism
I mean I love Thanasis and he’s an even greater guy than Giannis but I doubt he’s NBA material… – Ahloth
Thanasis has shown he’s not an NBA player. Though if he’s the 15th guy on the roster, it’s hard to get too upset about. – Kuhl
This sounds odd and I love Thanasis.
The article says there’s a possibility he gets signed.
I really don’t want bother much with it at the moment.
Think Thanasis shouldn’t be the one who gets the 15th roster spot. – stoneAge
...why are people in my feed talking about Thanasis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the same sentence?— Mitchell Maurer (@Mitchell_NBA) July 5, 2019
Furthermore, our intrepid friend from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Matt Velazquez posted his findings during the Bucks’ Summer League matchup against Philly on Friday, which didn’t include much:
Saw the report about Thanasis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Followed up on it. Word I got was there’s nothing in place — let alone agreed upon — right now. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, just that it’s not a thing at this particular moment in time.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) July 5, 2019
We’re not quite at “full blown Woj/Shams report” level yet, but this rumor has persisted for long enough for us to talk about it. So, here goes:
Thanasis is 26 years old, and has logged a grand total of six NBA minutes, with the New York Knicks, back in 2015-16. He bounced around in the G-League for a while, then returned to Greece and enjoyed some accolades with Panathinaikos in the Greek Basket League (including All Star Game MVP and a pair of GBL championships). His EuroLeague stats are, uh...something. How long are EuroLeague games, anyways?
Off the court, I have nothing but good things to believe about Thanasis Antetokounmpo. I have some significant reservations about the idea of signing a player specifically because of his familial relations (is it nepotism if Giannis isn’t in the front office?), but I can get over it if there is a legitimate basketball argument. Like, Robin Lopez doesn’t need Brook Lopez to be an NBA caliber player!
As far as I know, there isn’t a legitimate basketball argument for the Bucks signing Thanasis to this type of deal. He’s an athlete, and by all accounts can slam home lob passes and deliver weak side blocks...but that’s about it. Not only is his resume and outlook not up to what many would consider an NBA standard, it then creates the sheer possibility that Jon Horst and the Bucks’ front office might have to someday trade (or waive) Thanasis at some point, or at best, simply decline re-signing him after his deal is up. I fail to see the upside that Thanasis’ fraternity with Giannis would bring that would be worth such a potential powder keg of a personnel situation.
There are some serious J.R. Smith–Chris Smith vibes here, and Giannis is on a different tier than J.R. He’s the league’s Most Valuable Player, and his team is on the short list of championship contenders. Jon Horst and the Bucks have proven that they deserve the benefit of the doubt...but this move puzzles me to say the least, even on a minimum-level deal.
A silver lining: if injuries don’t completely tank the team’s season, there’s very little chance that Thanasis will actually play meaningful minutes. If his real-life impact on the team’s performance should be less than Pau Gasol’s (who totally cost the Bucks that San Antonio game I attended, smh), then the team should be...fine? I guess? No harm, no foul...no harm, no foul...no harm, no foul...
But it’s all about that supermax next summer, right? If this helps that, then it’s worth the trouble.