We've seen floaters before. We've seen 3-pointers before. We've seen attempted buzzer-beaters before. We're having a hard time, though, remembering when we've seen all of those things at the same time. Luckily, stretching the limits of what seems physically plausible is kind of what
forward guard positional revolutionary Giannis Antetokounmpo does, whether he's playing for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks or for the Greek men's national team during a 2014 FIBA World Cup tune-up game against Serbia (and Bucks teammate Miroslav Raduljica) on Friday.
With Greece holding a slim one-point lead and the clock ticking down in the first quarter, the 19-year-old Antetokounmpo took the ball off a turnover, covered about two-thirds of the court in two dribbles, and unleashed a teardrop that'd make Stephen Curry applaud ... from the distance that Steph most frequently calls home:
On one hand, it seems a bit less impressive than if he'd done it stateside, since the FIBA 3-point line is about a foot and a half closer to the basket than the NBA arc. Then again, Giannis was pretty far behind that line as he let the ball go:
... so it's still pretty rad.
Less rad, though: The fact that the shot came after the buzzer. Sorry, Giannis. While your style points are directly in front of our faces, your basketball points are in another castle.
Antetokounmpo never located said points on Friday, going scoreless on 0 for 3 shooting in just under 17 minutes of work off the bench in Greece's 66-64 win over Serbia. In one sense, he didn't really do much of anything (though he did notch a pair of steals). In another sense, though, he did something cooler than anyone else on the court Friday managed. It just didn't count.
It's a similar predicament to the one in which Antetokounmpo found himself during his rookie season in Milwaukee. It was a dead-on-arrival, going-nowhere team campaign in which, it could be argued, that nothing anybody did actually counted. But it was also a year during which the rookie showed enough bits and pieces of brilliance to make NBA diehards' mouths water at the prospect of what might happen once Giannis figures out how to translate those bursts into the kind of consistent explosions that turn losses into wins. He's not there yet, but he's getting closer with every possession commandeered, with every breakneck race to the rim and, yes, with every bang-on floater uncorked from (roughly) 25 feet out. We can't wait for Giannis to reach his hoped-for destination, but we're also going to enjoy the ride along the way.
- - - - - - -
More NBA coverage:
- Sports & Recreation
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Giannis Antetokounmpo