Milwaukee Bucks: Thanasis Antetokounmpo deserves genuine minutes

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 09: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 09: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Fan-favorite Thanasis Antetokounmpo has spent most of the season spectating from the bench, but the Milwaukee Bucks should look to involve him more.

In his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Thanasis Antetokounmpo was not involved much with the team’s rotation. Having appeared in 18 games, Thanasis averaged 2.5 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 0.5 assists in 5.2 minutes per game, mostly at the end of games that were all but decided already.

Still, because of his dynamic play and energetic presence, Thanasis became an instant fan favorite for the Bucks, and rightfully so. His electric boost off the bench provided a few plays for the highlight reel, particularly a few thunderous dunks that had fans questioning which Antetokounmpo brother he actually was.

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Although he had not received meaningful minutes for the majority of the season, he took full advantage when he occasionally was given a chance. For example, in the team’s last game versus the Denver Nuggets, several starters sat out, and Thanasis received his second start of the season. In 19 minutes of action, the 27-year-old stuffed the stat sheet as he finished with nine points, six rebounds, three assists, one block, and two steals as the Bucks lost a hard-fought battle 109-95.

Regardless of the loss, Thanasis looked great and had people asking why he had not been playing proper minutes like this all season. The experience of other players was a significant factor in that as, aside from second-year guard Donte DiVincenzo, the team has heavily relied on veteran experience for their success.

Before having signed with the Bucks this past offseason, Thanasis had not played in an NBA game since the 2015-16 season, where he took part in just two games at 23-years-old. Thanasis’ two-year, $3.1 million contract made him a low-cost addition for the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency, but the team should take advantage of the opportunity.

Thanasis has showcased this season that aside from the three-point shot, he can do everything else on the court reasonably well. He has proved himself to be a versatile defender at multiple positions, explosive threat on the offensive side of the ball, and an overall intriguing piece to this team with significant championship aspirations.

He could serve as the team’s Swiss Army Knife and contribute a significant role off of the team’s bench moving forward. Thanasis would not need to come in and score double figures every single night, but he could be a promising role player off the bench.

If the 2019-20 NBA season does not resume, Thanasis will not get an opportunity to prove himself for the remainder of this season but could find himself in a different situation next year in 2020-21.

The team could face a dilemma this offseason with Marvin Williams, Ersan Ilyasova, Sterling Brown, and Kyle Korver all potentially becoming free agents, the team will have issues to address at the small and power forward positions. With retaining all of these players unlikely, Thanasis could receive some more time if the team’s depth gets thinned out by the time next season starts.

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If that proves to be the case, it would be the first genuine opportunity of Thanasis’ short NBA career and could prove to be another valuable piece to the puzzle for the league-best Milwaukee Bucks.