Bucks Lead

Thanasis to Possess Unique Role in 2019-20

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To Giannis Antetokounmpo, family is everything. He grew up poor and struggled with his family, but they always stayed loyal to each other. Giannis’ mother, Veronica, and his late father Charles, did whatever they could to help those four brothers achieve their dreams, despite not having much to do it with.

 

Giannis always thanks his brothers and parents for their support. He would do anything for them. That is exactly why signing Thanasis Antetokounmpo makes so much sense.

Bucks Sign F Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Thanasis signed a two year, $3M deal with the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason. He’s played just two games in the NBA, as a part of the New York Knicks during the 2015-16 NBA season. He played six total minutes, scoring six points and making 3/4 shots.

He also played three seasons in the NBA G-League, as part of the Delaware 87ers and the Westchester Knicks. In those three seasons, Thanasis averaged 12.3p/5.1r/1.8a and shot 47.4% from the field.

Since his time in the G-League, Thanasis has been playing in separate international leagues. In 2016-17, he played for MoraBank Andorra from the Liga ACB. From 2017-2019, he played for Panathinaikos in the Greek Basket League. In those three seasons, Thanasis averaged 7.2p/3.6r and shot 48.8% from the field. He has struggled mightily from behind both the free throw line and the three point line, but he has been a solid inside scorer and active defender.

Criticisms

After the signing was announced, many Bucks fans and NBA analysts questioned the moved by the Bucks, saying Thanasis is not good enough for an NBA contract.

When simply looking at his stats, it is fair to question whether or not Thanasis is capable of being an impact player. But only an imbecile would fail to understand the Bucks’ mindset. Keep in mind Thanasis is the “15th guy” on the team. He will be on the end of the bench and won’t see any time except when the Bucks are routing the other team (or if the Bucks are getting routed, but that won’t happen). The other recent “15th guys” during different stretches of the last few years have been Gary Payton II, Sean Kilpatrick, Terrence Jones, Axel Toupane, Chris Copeland, and a few other obscure players. The point is, none of those guys were important to the success of the team, but you know what else none of them were? The brother and best friend of the entire franchise, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Image result for giannis thanasis

Photo: NBA.com

The Bucks had the opportunity to sign one of their MVP players’ most important people in the world, who is also a freak athlete with great quickness, basketball knowledge and incredible leaping ability. I mean come on people, it’s not like they signed some random friend of Giannis’ that’s 5-foot-10 and looks horribly uncoordinated and ridiculous. Thanasis knows how to play, and coach Mike Budenholzer’s staff is incredible at developing players. Look at DJ Wilson. During his rookie year under Jason Kidd, you’d be lying if you thought there was a lot of upside to his game. Now, under Bud, he has emerged as a more-than-serviceable role player.

Wisconsin Sports Fans Hypocrisy

Image result for aaron rodgers giannis antetokounmpo

Photo: Packers.com

I also want to take a moment to call out some hypocrisy from Wisconsin sports fans. Before I say this, understand that I am not trying to compare the talent level between the players. I am only comparing the situations. Wisconsin sports fans have been up in arms in recent years for the Packers not being willing to spend money on past-their-prime players like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews, because they are good friends of Aaron Rodgers. Even after Rodgers signed an extension through the 2023 season.

Now for the Bucks situation, Giannis will be a free agent in 2021. How can the same fans who were upset about the Packers willingly losing players that make Aaron Rodgers happy, be mad when the Bucks sign a player to make their equivalent to Aaron Rodgers happy, especially since Giannis has a chance to leave in a couple years? It just doesn’t make sense.

Predicting Thanasis’ Impact

While I am someone defending the Bucks’ decision to sign Thanasis, I also understand that he will likely not make an impact for the Bucks on the court over the next two years. He will see more playing time with the Herd than the Bucks. Thanasis can form a formidable team in Oshkosh, playing along side two-way players Frank Mason III and Cam Reynolds, as well as possibly Xavier Munford and Bonzie Colson, if the Herd sign them again. He will certainly be good for ticket sales for Menominee Nation Arena, but he won’t be there much.

Because this signing is all for Giannis, I expect Thanasis to be with the team nearly every time they are on a road trip. I only see Thanasis being assigned to the Herd when both the Bucks and Herd are playing in Wisconsin, because Thanasis is here for his relationship with Giannis. He will be there for Giannis to talk to and room with. Thanasis will help bolster an already chemistry-filled locker room. A happy Giannis means a happy Bucks fan base.

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About Nick Niles

I'm Nick Niles! I was born in Green Bay Wisconsin, raised in Appleton Wisconsin, and now I'm back in Green Bay at UW-GB studying Political Science and Public Administration. I have been a huge Bucks fan for as long as I have been alive, and I'm also passionate about writing. Twitter: @Bucks_Deluxe | @Nilesmania

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