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Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t play for Greece, Knicks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo will

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo will not play for his native Greece this off-season, as the National Team prepares for their second round World Cup qualifiers in September.  The Greek Basketball Federation today announced the 14 players that will make up the roster as they gear up to face Serbia next month, featuring his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo and  former Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes.

Thanasis, 26, currently plays his professional basketball in his native homeland for Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos. Thanasis has played in the NBA before, as he was drafted by the New York Knicks with the 51st pick in the 2014 NBA draft in which he’d spend two seasons before moving back home.

Giannis appears to be fully focused on gearing up for what looks one of the most important seasons in recent franchise history. As currently constructed, the Bucks’ roster lacks the balance that will help them throughout the course of a demanding regular season. They have brought in Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez to boost their stocks in the front court, but still lack wing and back-court depth and production. The franchise is hoping newly acquired Donte DiVincenzo who they drafted with the 17th overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft can give them a lift at the shooting guard position.

The Bucks also said goodbye to scoring forward Jabari Parker as they shipped him off to the Chicago Bulls, someone who, when healthy, worked very well alongside Giannis. The Bucks parted ways with 23-year-old after a long history of injuries that prevented him from regularly staying on the floor.

It seems as though Giannis will have to carry a heavy burden again for this upcoming campaign. After putting up All-Star averages of 26.9 points per game, 10 rebounds per game and 4.8 assists per game last season, he may be required to do even more this time around if the Bucks hope to make the playoffs.