On July 21, Shams Charania of The Athletic dropped the huge news that the Los Angeles Lakers are set to sign Antetokounmpo. Kostas Antetokounmpo that is. Brother of current MVP, Giannis. The Lakers confirmed the acquisition on July 22.
The 21-year-old forward was claimed off waivers, following his release from the Dallas Mavericks. Antetokounmpo will sign a two-way deal with the purple and gold, splitting his time between the NBA and the G-League, with the South Bay Lakers.
He will be the Lakers’ second player signed to a two-way contract, along with Zach Norvell Jr. Players on such contracts can be called up to the NBA for up to 45 days during the season.
Kostas Antetokounmpo was born on November 20, 1997, in Athens, Greece. He is the younger brother of Giannis and Thanasis, who both play in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks. Growing up, Antetokounmpo was developed by the youth teams of the Greek professional basketball club, EFAO Zografou, formally known as Filathlitikos.
Upon his older brother, Giannis, getting drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, Antetokounmpo moved to Milwaukee with his parents and younger brother, Alexis. He played high school basketball during his junior and senior years at Dominican High School in Wisconsin. As a senior, he won a state championship.
From here, he committed to play college basketball at the University of Dayton. In his first season (2016/17), he was red-shirted due to being ruled a “partial qualifier”. This was because he spent his first two years of high school in Greece.
Eventually making his debut in the 2017/18 season, the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 5.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 21 minutes for the Dayton Flyers.
On March 22, 2018, Antetokounmpo declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, where he was selected with the final pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks instantly. He later signed a two-way contract with the Mavericks, however he only went onto feature in two NBA games in the 2018/19 season.
Instead, he spent the majority of his time in the NBA G-League for the Texas Legends. Antetokounmpo played in 40 games throughout the 2018/19 campaign, averaging 10.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1.3 blocks, on .522% shooting. He did feature for the Mavericks’ 2019 Summer League team, posting averages of 5.8 points and 2.8 rebounds, in 13 minutes. Following Summer League, he was waived by the team. Which led to the Lakers claiming him off waivers.
Standing at 6-foot-10, Kostas Antetokounmpo is a long, athletic forward who’s main strength is getting to and finishing at the rim. With an incredible 7-foot-2 wingspan, his length makes it difficult for his opponents to contest in the paint. Even more so if he can add muscle to his 195-pound frame.
He is a solid rebounder that can cause havoc when crashing the offensive glass. Additionally, he can operate effectively off-the-ball cutting to the rim. Antetokounmpo does possess the ability to be a versatile threat, as he can operate as a ball handler on the perimeter also.
Much like his brother Giannis, Kostas does not provide much of a threat from an outside shooting standpoint. In college, he shot at a dismal .133% from beyond the arc. This improved in the G-League last season, but he still converted at a considerably poor .244% rate.
He does impact the defensive end positively, where he is considered a prolific shot blocker. When he is quick off his feet, not much gets past him in the around the rim. His impressive footwork makes him a competent defender on the perimeter too. However, with his slim frame, Antetokounmpo does struggle on the receiving end of a post up.
Overall, Kostas Antetokounmpo is a raw talent, and whilst he is far from the finished product, his potential is intriguing. If he can grow into and control his frame, his height and length will make him difficult to deal with on both ends of the ball. There is certainly long-term potential to be had.
From the Lakers’ perspective, what’s the harm in giving a 21-year-old with high-upside a chance on a two-way deal? There’s no harm at all. Plus, it starts to create a relationship with the Antetokounmpo family ahead of 2021, when Giannis hits free agency.
By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)