The Bucks are happy to let their ‘Freak’ flag fly

Giannis Antetokounmpo

He may be known as the “Greek Freak,” but Giannis Antetokounmpo has the type of skill-set any NBA team would love to have.

At 6 feet 11 inches and with a wingspan of 7 feet 5 inches, the Milwaukee Bucks’ All-Star power forward certainly has the length to match up with any of the league’s top centers and tall forwards but also the quickness and ball-handling skills to play guard. In fact, during the 2015-16 season, he was the Bucks’ primary playmaker and the following year he led Milwaukee in the five major statistical categories of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

This season, the Athens-born and -raised Antetokounmpo is not only leading the first-place Bucks in the stats line (26.6 points, 13.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists) but he’s also shown himself to be a leader on the court. Witness his performance in mid-December, when after turning in his worst performance of the season in a disheartening loss to the Central Division rival Indiana Pacers, he roared back two nights later with a career-high-tying 44 points to go with 14 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks in leading the Bucks to a 114-102 road victory over the division-rival Cleveland Cavaliers.

“He wants to be great,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer afterward. “Anytime he doesn’t meet the standards and expectations he sets for himself, the next game he is going to come out with a very aggressive mindset.”

Antetokounmpo can be seen in action Wednesday, Jan. 9, when the Bucks pay a visit to the Houston Rockets in a game airing on ESPN.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Name: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Birth date: Dec. 6, 1994

Birthplace: Athens

Height/weight: 6 feet, 11 inches/242 pounds

Teams: Fliathlitikos B.C. (2012-13); Milwaukee Bucks (2013-present)

College: none

Draft: Taken in the first round (15th overall) by the Bucks in 2013

Position: power forward

No.: 34

Honors and achievements: two-time NBA All-Star (2017, 2018); two-time All-NBA Second Team (2017, 2018); NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2017); NBA Most Improved Player (2017); NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2014)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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