June 6, 2016, 7:24 am
Though he was named to Greece’s preliminary roster for the nation’s Olympic qualifying tournament, Sportando is reporting that Giannis Antetokounmpo may not play for his national team.
Antetokounmpo has been vocal in the past about his desires to represent Greece on the national stage, but the Bucks would like him to remain in the US to learn the intricacies of the point guard position. While the report also states that no discussions have been held with the Bucks, GA will likely acquiesce and set his sights on bringing Milwaukee back to the playoffs.
It’s an understandable request from the team, as the Greek Freak is undoubtedly the foundation of Milwaukee’s future. He performed well as a facilitator last season, but extra time spent developing under the tutelage of the coaching staff never hurts. As the franchise cornerstone, it is imperative that the Bucks do everything they can to help Antetokounmpo succeed.
Antetokounmpo will start the season as Milwaukee’s starting point guard, and watching his game blossom last season was a bright spot in a disappointing year for the Bucks. His length and athleticism make him a plausible fit at just about any position, especially as the NBA moves towards smaller lineup configurations.
Antetokounmpo’s absence would be a huge blow to Greece’s Olympic hopes, as he is by far the best player on the roster. If, and presumably when, the decision is made official, the task will fall to NBA names like Kostas Papanikolaou, Nick Calathes and Kosta Koufos as well as Giannis’s younger brother Thanasis. Having the elder Antetokounmpo present at any position would obviously be ideal, but Greece should be preparing to forge on without its best player.