He’s the NBA’s MVP and the Milwaukee Bucks’ leading star, but what position does Giannis Antetokounmpo play?
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most versatile players in the NBA, and with a unique body type and skill-set, it’s not immediately apparent what position he plays.
Over the course of his seven-year career to date, Antetokounmpo has played at all five positions for the Milwaukee Bucks but, at present, he most often plays as a power forward.
The ideas of positions have evolved and become increasingly less important in the NBA in recent years. That’s largely due to players such as Antetokounmpo, who defy conventional wisdom with their ability to slot in at any position across the floor.
Across his first two seasons after having been drafted by the Bucks, Antetokounmpo was mostly utilized as a wing, splitting time between the shooting guard and small forward positions. At that point, Antetokounmpo wasn’t fully grown and certainly lacked the bulk that he’s added to his frame with his work in the weight room since then.
In the early stages of Jason Kidd‘s reign as head coach in Milwaukee, Antetokounmpo was tasked with orchestrating the offense as a point guard or, perhaps more accurately in his case, a point forward. Giannis’ comfort in bringing the ball up the floor, his vision, and his selflessness when it comes to setting up teammates meant that was a role he was very comfortable slotting in to.
More recently under coach Mike Budenholzer’s guidance, Antetokounmpo has made the power forward spot his own. That has coincided with his All-Star teammate Khris Middleton moving up a position to play at small forward rather than shooting guard, and has led to the most successful period in the Bucks’ history since the Sidney Moncrief-led teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar squads that preceded those.
Of course, Antetokounmpo’s positional versatility doesn’t end there, though. With the NBA having gone through a small-ball revolution in recent years, it’s not uncommon for the Bucks to go up against teams who play for large spells without a traditional center.
When that happens the Bucks have the luxury of moving Antetokounmpo to the 5, and matching their opponent in terms of style while retaining real size by way of the Greek’s 6’11” frame.
Antetokounmpo has yet to start a game as a center, but that certainly seems like an inevitability in terms of something that will come down the tracks as his career progresses.
As things stand, Antetokounmpo’s position is listed as “Power forward and point guard and small forward and shooting guard” on the trusted stats database Basketball-Reference. That speaks to Antetokounmpo’s remarkable versatility, and perhaps the kind of confusion that may have led you to read this article in the first place.
Antetokounmpo can play anywhere but, as indicated by his current position in Milwaukee’s starting lineup, he most frequently plays as a power forward.