Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo felt ‘like a prisoner’ playing in the FIBA World Cup
Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted to feeling caged during the recent 2019 FIBA World Cup, as the Milwaukee Bucks star felt the stark difference in playing styles upon rejoining his NBA team this past week.
“Playing with FIBA I was like a prisoner,” the reigning MVP said about his tough experience in China, according to John Askounis of EuroHoops. “I just got out of the cage, the cell. I am free now.”
“The rules, the way basketball is played in FIBA, the spacing. I felt like I was playing one against five every time I had the ball” he said looking back on the summer global competition, “It’s totally different here. I prefer NBA basketball.”
Antetokounmpo also didn’t have much space to operate due to the roster around him, there is no one named Khris Middleton, Wes Matthews, Kyle Korver, or Brook Lopez in the Greek national team, rendering him short of options for kick-outs to the perimeter.
The Greek Freak didn’t fare very well against the United States either, which exposed a lot of the Greek team’s weaknesses, as Gregg Popovich’s team focused on Antetokounmpo throughout the entire game and made use of the time he sat on the bench to build their lead.
Now back with the Bucks, Antetokounmpo will face another challenge of playing without Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic, as well as getting used to his new teammates. The 6-foot-11 unicorn put up a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds in his first preseason game, looking right at home during a 133-99 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.