Milwaukee Bucks: What is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s best position?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 15: Giannis Antetokounmpo
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 15: Giannis Antetokounmpo /

Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s versatility is no secret, but what is the Milwaukee Bucks’ All-Star’s best position.

I was driving home from dinner when I was stumped by a question that should have a somewhat obvious answer to most Milwaukee Bucks fans.

My girlfriend — a hardcore NBA/Raptors fan — asked what should have been a pretty simple question about the Bucks’ best player.

What position does Giannis Antetokounmpo even play?

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It’s a question you must assume has stumped many fans, officials, and media members before. In the most recent NBA awards, Giannis was voted into the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team. Even that achievement could only come about by media members placing him in a set position, though, and opinions differed on where that should be.

According to the media ballots released by the NBA, Giannis received 21 second team votes and seven first team votes. However all of the first team votes slotted Giannis in as a guard, where as the majority of his second team votes were awarded as a forward. The result was Giannis finished in a deadlock with now former Atlanta Hawk Paul Millsap (on 35 points) but edged him out due to the first team votes he had received as a guard.

That further fuels the question of the Greek Freak’s real position, or perhaps more interestingly his best position.

According to Basketball Reference, Antetokounmpo was listed as a small forward in his rookie year, shooting guard in his second, point guard in his third, and back to the SF again last season.

Giannis began his career as a clear small forward, but has since slowly developed into a more hands-on role, even if it’s less than when the “Point Giannis” buzz was at its peak.

If you speak with most Bucks fans online, you’ll hear arguments that Giannis is in fact a power forward as you often find him matching up against opposing 4s. Furthermore, you have to factor in that Giannis has spent time at center in small ball lineups, albeit very periodically, throughout his career.

This effectively gives him the illustrious and rare full house of NBA positional poker. Since being drafted, Giannis has also grown three inches and added weight to his slender frame, just to confuse the issue further.

To be clear, versatility is a valuable asset for any player in today’s NBA, but as the Bucks continue to look to get the best out of their most talented player, the position that maximizes his abilities becomes more important.

At this stage in his career and from what he has shown the basketball world so far, Giannis’ best position is probably power forward, as much for his handful of weaknesses as his abundance of strengths.

In the modern NBA, it’s absolutely crucial for teams to have adept three-point shooters at both guard spots and at least one of the forward positions for floor-spacing purposes.

With Giannis far from a consistent three-point threat at this point, and Thon Maker also still finding his feet from deep, this is an important consideration for the Bucks. Without sufficient three-point threats surrounding Giannis, the paint can become crowded, diminishing the returns he brings with his well-rounded scoring game inside the arc.

As a result, placing him at power forward can negate some of those concerns, while also utilizing his length and abilities defensively.

That’s not to say Giannis can’t be just as effective in other positions, as this position-less era of basketball rages on in the coming years.

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The Greek Freak has proved time and again he is more than up to any challenge thrown his way. Furthermore, if a consistent three-point shot happens to be in his near future, all positional options will have to be considered again.