Giannis Needs to Play
We are just over one month into the NBA season and one thing appears crystal clear: The Milwaukee Bucks will be a lottery team. With a record of 3-13, the Bucks are tied with the NY Knicks for the worst record in the eastern conference. Injuries (both on and off the court), lack of star power, and adjusting to a new coach and system have proven too much for the Bucks to overcome in the early going.
As the season enters it's second month, one thing must happen in order for fans to fill the seats (to a reasonable degree) at the BMO Harris Bradley Center: Giannis Antetokounmpo needs to play more.
At the tender age of 18, Antetokounmpo has a lot to learn about life on and off the court in the NBA, but he's not going to learn the on-court business by watching. He needs to play. Currently, Antetokounmpo is averaging just over 15 minutes per game. Only seldom used center Miroslav Raduljica is averaging less minutes. On five occasions so far this year, Head Coach Larry Drew has opted to leave the rookie on the bench watching. That can no longer happen.
Due to injuries to Caron Butler and Ersan Ilyasova, Antetokounmpo earned a season-high 28 minutes in a 92-85 win over the Boston Celtics Saturday night. The line for Antetokounmpo was solid: 10 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 three pt FG), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and one block. In one sequence, Antetokounmpo blocked a layup attempt on a Celtics fast break, then sprinted down the middle of the court, took a pass from Luke Ridnour, and slammed it home with authority. The Bucks bench erupted as Antetokounmpo showed flashes of why the Bucks selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
For Bucks fans (and the organization) to feel as if there is a light at the end of the decade-long tunnel of garbage they have been sifting through since the Ray Allen trade, they need to know Antetokounmpo was not only worth the pick, but that he can be a cornerstone player into his 20's.
The time to find out is now.