NBA

Is This a Sign Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Set to Leave the Milwaukee Bucks?

The youngest of the family’s basketball-playing brothers may have just dropped a big clue about career plans for Giannis Antetokounmpo. If so, Milwaukee Bucks fans should be a little more worried than they were even a few days ago.

Alex Antetokounmpo is passing up college

It was reported this weekend that Alex Antetokounmpo, the youngest brother of Milwaukee Bucks forwards Thanasis and Giannis Antetokounmpo, is not only leaving town but is also leaving the continent. According to Eurohoops, the 6-foot-7 senior at Dominican High School in Milwaukee’s northern suburbs, has decided to return to Europe to continue his basketball career.

Alex Antetokounmpo was a two-time all-state selection who averaged 20 points and 7.3 rebounds a game this past season. Despite the accolades and the family’s obvious aptitude for playing basketball, he has been relatively lightly recruited by NCAA schools. He aspires to play professionally and sees one of the European leagues as the pathway to one day joining his three brothers in the NBA.

“I was born and raised in Europe, I know European basketball and the best thing for me would be to sign a contract with a European club,” he told Eurohoops. “I will have to train and compete against grown men, I will experience strong competition and pressure and I will evolve on every level.”

Reading into what this may mean for Giannis Antetokounmpo

Alex Antetokounmpo was born to Nigerian parents and raised in Greece before moving to Wisconsin in 2013 during Giannis’ rookie season. His reported college scholarship offers are from Ohio University and, more significantly, Wisconsin-Green Bay. Neither plays in the upper echelon of Division I, which has more than 350 teams, so it stands to reason that Alex Antetokounmpo might excel against the competition but not necessarily develop as rapidly as he would at the likes of a Big Ten or ACC school.

Playing in Europe could most definitely accelerate his maturation on the court and move the teen closer to the NBA. Whether he stays in the U.S. or follows through with the intended move back to Europe, he will be eligible for the 2021 NBA draft.

Amidst the weekend news, there is one more possibility to consider as a reason for Alex Antetokounmpo deciding to bypass college: Big brother Giannis Antetokounmpo may be moving closer to a decision to leave the Milwaukee Bucks when his contract expires. Antetokounmpo is due to make $27.5 million from the Bucks next season, after which he becomes a free agent. Speculation about where he might land is already an obsession with fans.

If Alex stayed here to play at Wisconsin-Green Bay and develop over as many as three or four seasons, big brothers Giannis and Thanasis would still be able to keep an eye on him from two hours to the south in Milwaukee. So, the question becomes whether Alex’s move is a family decision based on the knowledge that Giannis Antetokounmpo is more likely to play for Golden State, Boston or some other NBA destination two years from now.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers sure can play

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the star of the basketball-playing brothers, but Thanasis and Kostas can most certainly hoop it up some as well.

Giannis is in his seventh NBA season after being drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013. He has career averages of 20.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game while also making NBA All-Star teams the past four years.

Thanasis was drafted by the New York Knicks in 2014 and played briefly there in the 2015-16 NBA season. He followed that with one season each in Spain and Greece before signing with the Bucks last summer. He has seen limited action in 18 games this season.

Kostas was taken by the Philadelphia 76ers with the last pick of the 2018 NBA draft and then shipped to the Dallas Mavericks. He made his NBA debut with the Mavs but played primarily with the organization’s G League affiliate before being waived in the offseason and signed by the Los Angeles Lakers.