A year ago, the NBA world began its love affair with Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Twelve months later, his big brother his heading to the Big Apple.
The New York Knicks selected Giannis' older brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, with the No. 51 overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft.
Antetokounmpo, 21, played for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA D-League last season. He came to the United States with his family when Giannis was drafted in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks. Because Thanasis had previously played in Greece, he was ineligible to play college basketball.
Biding his time with Delaware, Antetokounmpo impressed scouts with his athleticism and defensive acumen. He averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game while also picking up consistent blocks and steals on a nightly basis.
The Knicks, who did not initially have any selections in this draft, were able to acquire two second-round picks as part of their deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early came off the board No. 34 overall. If he and Antetokounmpo both pan out, Phil Jackson's first draft as Knicks boss may have come with two elite defensive stoppers on the wing.
Given the dilapidated state of the New York defense of late, Antetokounmpo and Early should be welcome sights at the Garden.
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