Knicks deny claim that they failed to scout Giannis Antetokounmpo

UPDATE (2/14)

The New York Knicks told Thursday that their European staff scouted Giannis Antetokounmpo multiple times, disputing a claim from his Greek agent in a TNT documentary that they were the only NBA team to neglect to do so.


Add this one to the list of James Dolan-era New York Knicks accolades.

The Knicks were the only NBA team to decline to scout Milwaukee Bucks phenom Giannis Antetokounmpo when he was a rising star in Greece. That is, according to Antetokounmpo’s Greek agent Giorgos Panou.

How Giannis landed on scout’s radars

Panou sat down for the upcoming TNT documentary “Finding Giannis” that goes into the background of how Antetokounmpo rose from the relative obscurity of Greek basketball to become one of the game’s greatest players.

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Panou said he reached out to NBA scouts and general managers early in the process without getting a bite. Team’s weren’t interested until Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony visited and posted video of Antetokounmpo on his web site.

That’s when the NBA started paying attention, Panou said. For the most part.

Every team but the Knicks

“So after Jonathan came and his footage was outside on Draft Express, scouts started flying to Greece,” Panou said. “Every day at practice, at games executives, GMs, assistant coaches.

“Every team came, you know 29 teams. Except Knicks, New York Knicks.”

That bit of news should come as no surprise to loyal followers of the team that just traded its best shot at hope in years on a long-shot gamble. The Knicks have been screwing up for decades.

The New York Knicks denied a claim that they failed to scout Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Getty)
The New York Knicks denied a claim that they failed to scout Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Getty)

Lots of teams missed on Giannis, but …

Of course, it’s not fair to single out the Knicks for missing on Antetokounmpo.

Plenty of teams whiffed on the Greek Freak, who fell to the Bucks with the 15th pick of the 2013 draft. Names like Shabazz Muhammad (Utah Jazz, No. 14), Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings, No. 7) and Cody Zeller (Bobcats, No. 4) were all called before Antetokounmpo’s.

And of course, the Cleveland Cavaliers made perhaps the worst draft pick of all time in selecting Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall that year.

But the fact that that Knicks didn’t even bother to do their due diligence and were the only team to fail to do so? That’s a story only Dolan can write.

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