MILWAUKEE, WI (LEARFIELD-WSAU) The Milwaukee Bucks surprised the pundits last night by passing on a much-needed guard, and drafting small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (an-teh-toe-koom’-po) of Greece.
Milwaukee also reportedly traded their second-round pick, Ricky Ledo of Providence, to Dallas in a three-way deal with Philadelphia. The Bucks will get point guard Nate Wolters of South Dakota State. Wolters and his agent both confirmed the deal.
The 18-year-old Antetokounmpo is nicknamed the “Greek Freak,” and he was the 15th overall pick in the first round. General manager John Hammond said he could have went with a safer pick – like Miami’s Shane Larkin, as the possibility looms that the Bucks will lose both their starting guards this summer. But Hammond said the Bucks had their eye on Antetokounmpo since last December – and while the G-M doesn’t want to put pressure on the youngster, he says the Greek forward has the potential of becoming an All-Star.
Coach Larry Drew said he resembles Kevin Durant with long arms and solid ball-handling skills. Antetokounmpo had never been out of Greece until just a few weeks ago, when he played with the Greek National Team. He played last season for a second-division team in Greece, averaging nine-and-a-half points and five rebounds in 26 games.
Antetokounmpo admits he’s never played at nowhere near the N-B-A level – and both he and the Bucks say he’ll have a lot of work to do. Hammond says the ideal thing is to groom him with the team, and not send him to the N-B-A Developmental League. He had signed a pro contract to play in Spain this year, but the Bucks say they’ll have no problem buying it out.
Wolters ends up as Milwaukee’s 43rd overall selection. He was fourth in the N-C-A-A in scoring last year, with almost 23-points a game for South Dakota State. This is Hammond’s sixth draft with the Bucks, and only one of his second picks stayed with the team – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who was taken in 2008.