Larry Drew brought 33 years of NBA experience to the Milwaukee Bucks when he took over as coach last year. It would take a teenager who didn't speak English very well just one day to pick out a mistake in his playbook. Long before Giannis Antetokounmpo was a bright spot in a bleak season for the Bucks, before we discovered that he was a hard worker and the personal champion for his immigrant family, he was a complete mystery to his own coach. Drew barely had the keys to the Cousins Center when he walked by the NBA draft board and saw the name: Antetokounmpo. "I didn't know this kid," said Drew. Director of scouting Billy McKinney gave Drew a highlight tape of an 18-year-old player from Greece who could play above the rim but who also tethered the basketball while running up and down the court. Drew figured he was 6 feet 1 inch "because he's doing things like a guard." Antetokounmpo was 6-9. And the Bucks made Antetokounmpo their first-round draft choice a month later. That's a tough assignment for any coach — to take over a struggling team and then take on a total stranger. Drew couldn't help but wonder — what do I have to work with? At a summer tournament in Europe, Drew got his answer when Antetokounmpo took a rebound off the glass, sprinted to the other end, faked out one defender at the top of the key, drove by traffic in the lane and threaded the needle with a bounce pass to the open man. "That sold me," said Drew. "That play there was an NBA play. My wheels got to turning."
Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo learning on the job
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Mar 26