Giannis Antetokounmpo, nearly unstoppable as an inside force and slasher to the basket, will soon be upgrading to become a dual threat — and fall in line with many of the other big men of the NBA.
Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst, speaking Friday in an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump, said Antetokounmpo will be developing a long-range shot.
“Every year he comes back with something different,” Horst said. “Whether it’s at some point this year or next year, you’re going to see him with a 3-point shot.”
Antetokounmpo, who as recently as Tuesday night scored nine of his 11 field goals on dunks, has averaged 1.5 3-point attempts per game in his career and has made only two of 23 attempts in the Bucks’ 11 games this season.
But Horst said that will change.
“I think the rest of the league is pretty scared about that,” Horst said.
A day after the Bucks’ 134-111 win over the Warriors — their second straight win over Golden State dating to March, after having won just two of their previous 10 meetings — Horst’s contention was part of a message that Milwaukee won’t stop there.
“For us as a team that’s just building and trying to figure out a way to contend, for us to just have small milestones along the way and to just continue to improve and win, games like that on the road are fun,” Horst said.
For the Warriors, it was their first defeat at home this season as Antetokounmpo again proved formidable with 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
“To have the confidence to go in there and play like they did against an opponent in the Warriors last night, it was a big step for us,” Horst said in his appearance on The Jump.
Antetokounmpo wasn’t alone. Point guard Eric Bledsoe scored seven straight points during Milwaukee’s big third quarter and finished with 26.
“Eric Bledsoe had a fantastic game last night,” Horst said. “To give him space — it’s hard for anyone to guard him one-on-one. So I really think that, yeah, it starts with Giannis, but we have great core guys that have really benefited from the style of play and shooters we’ve put around him.”
Horst, asked how the Bucks plan to keep Antetokounmpo over the long term, said they were being patient in their approach to winning as it relates to his development, but that it was up to them “to build a team that fits, and to have a program and a culture that he wants to stay and be part of.”
“So far we’ve done that,” Horst said. “And I believe we’ll do that going forward as well.”
On Thursday night, facing a Golden State team without Draymond Green, who was out with a sprained toe, Antetokounmpo overwhelmed the Warriors early with 19 points, seven rebounds, a steal and a block by halftime.
“To watch him grow day by day, step by step, it’s remarkable,” Horst said. “His work ethic is unmatched. His IQ for the game is unmatched.”