NBA Scout Says Kostas Antetokounmpo Is 'Far from Ready' for 2018 NBA Draft

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMarch 23, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 8: Kostas Antetokounmpo #13 of the Dayton Flyers dunks the ball against Khris Lane #21 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the second round of the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament at Capital One Arena on March 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

When an Antetokounmpo puts his name in the draft, NBA teams are bound to take notice.  

Kostas, younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis, is "testing the waters" after one season at Dayton, according to ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony

The 6'10" redshirt freshman doesn't have the typical resume of a one-and-done prospect, having only played 15.2 minutes a game and averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds.

"Crazy," one scout responded when told the news of Antetokounmpo's interest in NBA feedback. "Far from ready. Upside guy completely."

But there is also a sense the 6'10", 20-year-old wasn't given the best opportunity through 29 games. 

"They didn't do him any favors at Dayton," said the scout. 

Over the next 10 weeks, Antetokounmpo will look to convince NBA teams his role and production didn't tell the whole story. And he should have plenty of chances, assuming teams are intrigued enough to grant him workouts, which could then lead to an NBA combine invitation for a chance to show out during measurements, athletic testing and scrimmaging in front of mid and high-level executives.

Like his brothers, Antetokounmpo checks out under the NBA lens with his frame, 7'2" wingspan (according to ESPN's Mike Schmitz) and foot speed. 

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

In 2014, the New York Knicks traded into the second round (via Dallas Mavericks) for the eldest Antetokounmpo, Thanasis, after he'd averaged just 12 points in the G-League. That late in the draft, teams could show more of a willingness to gamble on family genes and potential. 

The draw to Kostas would ultimately stem from his defensive ceiling and offensive efficiency. Shooting 65.1 percent inside the arc and swatting 2.8 shots per 40 minutes, he excelled this year as a rim runner, finisher and shot-blocker.

Mostly coming off the bench (six starts), Antetokounmpo led Dayton in defensive plus-minus, per Sports-Reference.com, showing the ability to guard different positions, switch out and protect the basket.

The realistic hope would be for him to carve out a role as a specialist valued for his defensive versatility and activity. 

He's much further behind in terms of ball skills and shot-making, finishing last in offensive plus-minus among Dayton rotation players (minimum 15.0 minutes).

No stat paints a clearer picture of Antetokounmpo than his half court versus transition numbers.

Transition: 1.632 PPP, 99th percentile

Half-court offense: .803 PPP, 36th percentile 

He can pick up easy baskets in the open floor with his long strides and ability to play above the rim. 

Once the game slows down, however, he doesn't offer much at this stage, ranking in the 25th percentile as a pick-and-roll man and 38th percentile as a post player. He missed 19 of 22 jump shots and totaled 13 assists in 438 minutes all season.

Realistically, teams won't look at Antetokounmpo for his offense or passing; rather, his potential to impact a game in an off-ball energy role. 

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Even though he's still a blank canvas and older than others in this class, it's difficult to write anyone off as a second-round option. Nobody in the No. 30-60 range will stand out as a surefire NBA player, and with almost every team now having a direct affiliate in the G-League, there could be more general managers inclined to bet on a long-term project and let him develop in their minor league system (without taking up a spot on the pro roster).

Nowhere near NBA-ready, Antetokounmpo will have work to do for a team to take a chance after his quiet freshman season. There is also a sense that he could wind up overseas, where Thanasis has a supporting role in Greece.

Either way, Kostas will have NBA evaluators' attention just based on name recognition, though Antetokounmpo would likely have a better shot to go in the first round in 2019.

Given Giannis' continuous improvement, it will be interesting to see how Kostas progresses over the next few years, whether it will be in the G-League or overseas. It should be just as fascinating to find out how teams assess him this May and June, and if one will ultimately roll the dice on the third Antetokounmpo to enter an NBA draft.


Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports Technology unless otherwise noted.