Giannis Watch: Episode 2

Hello, and welcome back to “Giannis Watch,” our recurring series in which we keep up with Milwaukee Bucks rookie, Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

Since we last checked in with Giannis after the Bucks’ opening night loss to the New York Knicks, the Bucks have played two more games, beating the Boston Celtics on Friday and losing to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

In both contests, Giannis’ playing time improved from his five minutes of action on opening night. He played 12 minutes agains the Celtics, with five of them coming in the 4th quarter, when the Bucks stormed back to pick up their first win of the year. The following night, Giannis registered 17 minutes, including 12 which came when he played the whole 4th quarter.

The increase in minutes, especially in the 4th quarter shows that coach Larry Drew has faith in the young Greek. (It’s also partly due to the starters underperforming.) So what has Giannis done in those increased minutes? Let’s take a look.

In the second quarter of last Friday’s match-up against the Celtics, Giannis scored his first regular season basket with this nifty reverse layup. As Zaza Pachulia drove to the basket, Jeff Green got caught ball watching and ended up losing sight of Giannis, who had cut baseline. (Side note: This is poor defense from Green here, as he ends up doing nothing. He doesn’t get over enough to put pressure on Pachulia, and also loses his own man.) Pachulia hits him with a nice bounce pass that Giannis converts.

He also scored two other buckets this weekend, both on slam dunks. The first was a breakout against the Celtics, and the second was on another baseline cut against the Raptors.

Rounding up his stat lines from the Bucks two games this weekend, Giannis finished with 7 points on 3-7 shooting, 4 rebounds and 1 steal.

Nothing spectacular so far, but Giannis was never going to be a star right away. The increased minutes were the main positive to take away from the two games this weekend, and hopefully Drew will continue giving him chances.

Be sure to stay tuned to Saving the Skyhook for the next episode of “Giannis Watch,” as we keep track of our favorite young Buck throughout the year.