An Imaginary Conversation With The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

In order to satisfy my growing curiosity with the 2014-15 Milwaukee Bucks I decided to live blog Tuesday night’s game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. Somehow this play-by-play account morphed into an imaginary one-sided conversation with the ‘Greek Freak’ Giannis Antetokounmpo. A full rebuttal from Giannis in The Player’s Tribune should be forthcoming.

1st Half 

Giannis, can I call you Giannis? Your adoring fans, of which there are an increasing number, call you the ‘Greek Freak’ but since I am only a recent admirer of your work I do not feel entirely comfortable calling you by a nickname. Unless it’s something that we come up with together. Something that taps a bit more into your unique cultural heritage. Like Zeus. Poseidon? What about the Acropolis? How about I just call you Giannis?

Happy that you have cracked the starting lineup again tonight although that hasn’t always been the case this season as your coach Jason Kidd has done his best to limit your minutes. Same for your teammate and fellow teen sensation Jabari Parker. Do you believe that your 19 year old body can handle more of a workload or are you still adjusting to the relentless rigors of an NBA season? As fans we wish you’d play 40 minutes a game but at this point in your career that might not be practical.

Look at you, all grown up and guarding LeBron James. Your length should give him fits around the perimeter but do you have the foot speed to keep up with him when he drives to the basket?

First points of the game on a lovely drive to your left. Have you always been ambidextrous or is that just what basketball aficionados mean when they say that you have only begin to scratch the surface of how talented a player you can become?

Seems like you need to get a little stronger on the boards. As a 6’11’’ man with a 7’2” wingspan you should be dominating on the glass but coming into this game you are only averaging 6 rebounds a game. How come? Maybe it’s because you are a very skinny man who once you beef up a bit it will become easier for you grab those boards. The lovely folks of Wisconsin would be more than happy to help fatten you up with a sampling of some of their local delicacies like bratwurst and cheese curds.

Only 7 minutes into the game and you commit your second foul. Looks like LeBron was able to take advantage of you after all. Don’t feel too bad for yourself though Giannis, you are not the first nor will you be the last player to get in early foul trouble while trying to guard LeBron James. Plus, it’s only 15-12 Cavs midway through the first and your bench is more than capable of keeping this thing close.

Uhh, not unless someone guards Kevin Love who is on his way to a monster first quarter.

What a nice pass by Jabari to Jared Dudley as your Bucks pull to within 7, 27-20. Must be fun to play with a talent like Jabari Parker. I saw that someone called you two the next Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Awfully high praise for a rookie and a second year player but you can definitely see the similarities between Parker and Durant who both make things look so effortless on the offensive end. You don’t play the same position as Westbrook but perhaps one day you’ll be able to match his superior energy level creating havoc on both ends of the court.

At the end of the first quarter your Bucks trail the Cavs 30-23. Kevin Love goes for 17 and 5. Due to foul trouble Giannis you only played 7 minutes and it looks like you’re going to start the 2nd quarter on the bench as well. Get comfortable, you might be there for a while. At least you can ogle Kate Upton who is once again allowing Justin Verlander to tag along.

The Bucks Bench has come to life in the second quarter outscoring the Cavs reserves 16-2! Has Ersan Ilyasova always looked like the Turkish James Franco or is this just a recent development? Considering Turkey and Greece’s long, complicated history I hope things are alright between the two of you. What am I saying, of course they are. Basketball is the ultimate olive branch.

Jabari can get by Love anytime he wants and your Bucks take a 42-40 lead with 4:30 in the 2nd. However, I’m beginning to sense that you time on the court in the first half has come to a close. Only 4 points and 1 rebound. Maybe this wasn’t the best night for our imaginary conversation to take place.

Milwaukee leads Cleveland 54-52 at the half. Jabari can ball. Ilysova can score but the announcers are saying he’s out of the game with a facial contusion. Could be a problem from your bench

2nd Half

Welcome back Giannis!!! Smart decision switching having you defend Kevin Love. Your length can alter his 3pt shots plus you should be able to stay between him and the basket unlike LeBron.

Giannis with a corner two and the Bucks take a four point lead 58-54.

Oh no, not another foul…only 2 minutes into the 2nd half and you pick up your 3rd.

Happy Birthday Brandon Knight with another 3 pointer. A career year for the 23 year old. You guys are a really young basketball team. If this core can stay together for a few years plus add a few pieces along the way like another three point shooter watch out.

67-63 with 7 minutes remaining in the 3rd. Serious question Giannis, do you like your coach more than LeBron likes David Blatt? I’m starting to wonder if some of these turnovers aren’t intentional. Maybe LeBron is secretly hoping that the Cavs will make a midseason trade for Erik Spoelstra.

This third quarter has turned into a game of runs. First your Bucks go on a 13-0 run then the Cavs follow with a 9-0 stretch of their own. Heading into the 4th quarter the game is tied 79-79. You have almost as many fouls (4) as you do points (8) but your fellow Baby Bucks have made this a competitive game.

As you hit two free throws to give the Bucks the lead 81-79, is Larry Sanders a little crazy? He seems like he might run a little hot. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a tremendous defensive player with some surprising dexterity on offense, but there’s just something about him that looks like he could lose his tempter at any moment.

What a move!!! Wait, travel? How come the Eurostep gets called for a travel tonight but was allowed a few nights ago against the Pistons? Either way, pretty move Giannis.

Man if you could only shoot the three, they are leaving you wide open.  Mike Miller is giving you nearly four feet of space around the perimeter. Listen to your coach. When he first came into the league Jason Kidd couldn’t shoot threes either but by the time his playing career was finished he had morphed into something of a three point specialist.

Giannis with the second effort 85-84 Bucks. Strangely you have 12-5-4 with 6 minutes remaining in the game.

Blocked by Mike Miller!!! How does that happen? Then LeBron blows right by you and the Cavs take 5 point lead 94-89 with 3:48 left. Not a great sequence for you.

You guys really need another scorer. Too bad Ilysova is out with a face.

Going to Brandon Knight a lot down the stretch but I can’t help but wish Jabari was touching the ball a bit more.

And there’s the Larry Sanders technical we were all waiting for. You could see that one coming all the way from Racine.

That’s a huge turnover Giannis as you’re now down 99-93 and this thing looks like it’s going to free throws.

Final score: Cavs 111 Bucks 108. Even though you sat out nearly all of the first half Giannis, you ended the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. I assume you would have been much more aggressive on defense if you hadn’t gotten into early foul trouble. Either way, you didn’t play your best but still managed to put up the stats. This is an interesting stretch for your Milwaukee Bucks as you play 10 of 15 games on the road in December. We will know a lot more about your Baby Bucks after that.

Until then, it was nice talking to you Giannis. Let’s do this again soon.