By Jason Schott - Associate Editor - @JESchott19
The Knicks used one of their picks, the 51st overall in the NBA Draft, on highly-touted Greek prospect Thanassis Antetokounmpo. He is the brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, already a budding star in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Thanasis said of being drafted by the Knicks, "I mean, it's an amazing feeling for me. I mean, everybody who knows me knows the feeling of all this work I've put in and all this work I'm going to put in and know just like with all my heart and soul. So it's an amazing feeling being here, and these people like trust me and drafted me so I can be here. So everything starts over again. So I'll just start by earning a spot on the roster and trying to do my best."
On what he will bring to the Knicks, Thanasis said, "I'm going to do whatever -- I'm going to do everything, whatever the coach tells me to. You'll probably laugh, but I'll do whatever the coach tells me to, from play 40 minutes to waving the towel to taking the last shot. I'll do whatever Coach wants me to in order to win."
Antetokounmpo began his pro career with the Greek Second Division club Filathlitikos in 2012. During the 2012–13 season with Filathlitikos, he averaged 12.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in the Greek 2nd Division. He was selected by the coaches to play in the 2013 Greek All Star Game as a special participant, after competing at the slam dunk contest, as players from the 2nd division are eligible to compete in the dunk competition.
After originally declaring for the 2013 NBA Draft, he withdrew on June 17, 2013. He did so along with 17 other players on the day of the withdrawal deadline. He had originally entered the draft with his younger brother Giannis.
On November 1, 2013, he was selected by the NBA D-League's Delaware 87ers, with the 9th pick in the 2013 NBA Development League Draft. In his D-League debut on November 23, 2013, Antetokounmpo recorded 14 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists, in a 117–106 loss to the Canton Charge. He also competed at the 2014 NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest.
During the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, he averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. On May 1, 2014, he was selected to the 2014 NBA D-League All-Defensive Third Team.
Thanasis told a story about his journey. "I would like to say something. For those who don't know, last year we were in the same place, like the same day. I was just sitting on the left, and he (Giannis) was sitting on the right. He got drafted by the Bucks last year, my brother. And being here and all the blessings I've received today from God and from my family, I really want to say thank you to the Knicks for drafting me and putting faith in me to do the best."
Comparing last year to this, Thanasis said, "It's an amazing feeling. It's almost the same feeling because everything starts this is the day. We enjoy this day, and we have blessing, and we know that tomorrow's another day. Everything starts from the beginning, to make things happen."
Giannis said, "I'm really happy for Thanasis. I'm really proud of him. I'm more happier this day more than last year in the draft for myself. so I'm really excited for Thanasis to go to the New York Knicks. Hoepfully, he does well, and he prove himself. I'm sure he's going to try his best."
Jabari Parker was drafted by Giannis' team, the Milwaukee Bucks. On the prospect of playing with Parker, Giannis said, "I'm really excited. He's a great player. He's a really good kid. We talked a little bit after his workout with the Bucks, and I'm really excited. He could take our team to the next level, and I'm really excited to play with him."
I asked Thanasis if he thinks that his presence on the team will make Greeks root for the Knicks more than ever before. He said, "I don't really know, but I hope they do because we need it. We, as Greeks, we have to support every Greek in every part of the world."
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