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NBA Draft targets: Taking a flyer on Kostas Antetokounmpo

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Safe to say Kostas will be in the NBA eventually.

NCAA Basketball: Dayton at Rhode Island Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the recent shuffle of the Pistons squashing bad teams and the general NCAA tournament hoopla (it’s time for Sister Jean to go home), college players declaring for the NBA Draft probably hasn’t been on the radars of most Pistons fans, especially considering that in this deep draft the organization does not have a first round pick. Luckily, for now at least, the organization has a second round pick.

Last week, I wrote that I would like to first look at second round point guard prospects, and I initially did so with a peek at a probable second round point guard in Keenan Evans. My reasoning for targeting point guards is based on the Pistons legitimate need at the backup point guard position, primarily their need in developing a younger, more dynamic player that could more capably serve behind an oft-injured Reggie Jackson. While Ish Smith is a respectable and solid change of pace point guard, if there’s a replacement who shows more potential on the perimeter then that’s certainly something that should be enticing.

But now, for the moment anyway, my attention is solely on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s brother, Kostas Antetokounmpo. My attention span may be short, but I think it’s for good reason this time. I’m all aboard the Kostas express.

The Greek Freak’s brother, Kostas Antetokounmpo

The 6’10 Kostas played a single season (2017-18) at the University of Dayton and also red-shirted for a season, and just days ago he announced he will test NBA draft waters. Kostas also has made it clear that he’s not looking to transfer to another school, meaning he’s definitely looking to end his college career. He’ll head overseas if he can’t get a look in the NBA next season, which very well might be the case just looking at the initial reaction from scouts, NBA heads and the NBA draft boards.

Kostas is listed as a fairly early second round selection on Basketball Insiders (#39 to Philadelphia) for what it’s worth. While I haven’t checked all of the 2018 NBA mock draft sites, I imagine Kostas is not on too many more because at the moment he’s not listed in most of the major ones. Again, take that for what it’s worth, as there are many decent mock draft sites out there that will change a good deal by the time the draft arrives in June.

Kostas’ Positives

  • Antetokounmpo family length (a recurring theme in these clips)
  • Quick jumper
  • Fluid athlete — or another way to put it — he can really run the floor and chew gum at the same time (don’t try that at home, kids... not safe)

  • Good hands, and seems to make the tough catches as well as the simple catches
  • Loves to finish with force (read: dunker)
  • This display (Kostas is #13 in red)

  • Basketball instincts, which is half the battle sometimes with high potential players.
  • Not bad footwork or post presence — as it seems like it’s his most polished offensive area. Seems to know how to seal his man in the post and use his posterior to his advantage a bit. Do take into account that often times there are 6’7 or 6’8 players defending him in Dayton’s league (the Atlantic 10). But still.

  • Giannis is his brother and that should be worth something. And don’t forget about other older brother Thanasis, who played briefly in the NBA.

Kostas’ Negatives

  • 20 years old (will be 21 this November) and still raw in many areas
  • Played just 15 minutes per game at a mid-major school and to no one’s surprise his numbers are pedestrian at best
  • Haven’t read any praise regarding his post-passing ability
  • Gets away with less than textbook defensive form mostly because he’s agile, has length and quick hands and is a quick jumper (also the Atlantic 10 league isn’t necessarily very strong)
  • 2-of-15 from deep during his lone college season. His jumper doesn’t look horrible (sample below) but obviously it’s not far enough along yet. Though, keep in mind, sometimes certain college systems/coaches can really suppress areas of a player’s game (Michigan State fans know this too well with Jaren Jackson Jr.)

Here’s one of Kostas’ two college triples:

  • Injuries (including a tibia fracture) have plagued some of his time in Greece and more recently just prior to his Dayton career

Two more videos

Kostas didn’t often take turn-around jump shots in games, but if you want to see an example of when he did then I’ve got you covered:

Kostas sure did take advantage of the all-around porous Hofstra defense:

NBA Comparisions

Kostas’ ceiling could very well be Serge Ibaka with a little more ball handling ability thrown in there. Of course, there are similarities between Kostas and his superstar brother, Giannis. Yet, Kostas, even with all his own potential, probably doesn’t have Giannis’ ability to create for others and be a focal point for an offense.

Kostas might not be drafted in 2018, but I believe it’s obvious to see that he’ll have a place in the NBA in the next couple of years. Will he be just another end of the bench player, or will he be a key piece?

What do you all think about Kostas? Worth a gamble?