Kostas Antetokounmpo is officially a Laker after the Los Angeles based team claimed him off waivers. The 6’10” younger brother of Giannis, Antetokounmpo spent the first year of his NBA career with the Texas Legends. One would think that adding Jason Kidd and Antetokounmpo is the Lakers way of currying favor with Giannis. Per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Kostas Antetokounmpo can come in and have the opportunity to play for the Lakers, play for their G-League franchise, but also that information will go back to Milwaukee and Giannis, and he’ll hear how they do things in L.A. Could that matter in summer 2021? The Lakers certainly hope so, but we don’t know.
The current MVP is going to be a free agent in two years, why not start the recruiting early?
However, the Lakers are excited about Antetokounmpo as a prospect, again from McMenamin:
Even if Kostas didn’t have that same last name as the reigning MVP, they view him as a young piece who showed a little bit at Dayton, showed a little bit last year being in the Mavericks’ program, who perhaps could be in his own right an effective player in this league.
Per Johnathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, Antetokounmpo was first in defensive plus-minus during his time at Dayton. Predraft, the Dayton alumni was considered an “upside guy”. This can be due to the fact that in college, he was ranked last in offensive plus-minus.
Antetokounmpo is signed to a two-way deal, meaning he will be spending most of his time in the G-League as he did last season. Antetokounmpo played 40 games with Texas, averaging 10.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 1.3 bpg. He also averaged 24% from 3, but 52% from the field overall.
During 2019 NBA Summer League, he only averaged 5.8 points to go along with 2.8 rpg and 0.6 bpg.
If this is a ploy to lure Giannis to the Lakers in free agency, it’s a worthy gamble. The Lakers were able to make their signings while also having cap flexibility for Summer 2021. It is two years away, but the Lakers have shown signs that they have their eyes on free agents that summer.
The use of a two-way spot is questionable but will pay dividends if Antetokounmpo can show his potential.