The Los Angeles Lakers generated a healthy amount of buzz this past weekend when it was reported they were planning to claim Kostas Antetokounmpo off waivers.
Kostas is a 21-year-old, 6’10” forward who was drafted with the No. 60 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He’s also the younger brother of reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
While the latter might mean more to the Lakers in two years, when Giannis can become an unrestricted free agent, they’re currently more interested in Kostas as a prospect, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“Kostas Antetokounmpo can come in and have the opportunity to play for the Lakers, play for their G League franchise, but also that information will go back to Milwaukee and Giannis, and he’ll hear how they do things in L.A. Could that matter in summer 2021? The Lakers certainly hope so, but we don’t know.
“Even if Kostas didn’t have that same last name as the reigning MVP, they view him as a young piece who showed a little bit at Dayton, showed a little bit last year being in the Mavericks’ program, who perhaps could be in his own right an effective player in this league.”
Kostas spent all but two games of his rookie season in the G League with the Texas Legends. In 40 appearances for the Legends last season, Kostas averaged 10.6 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting from the field while averaging 25.4 minutes per game. He also contributed 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
For someone that was selected with the last pick in last year’s draft, those aren’t terrible numbers, but Kostas still has a long way to go before he can contribute at the next level.
To be more specific, Kostas needs to figure how to make an impact on offense when he’s not playing in transition. Right now, his offensive game is limited to wide-open layups and dunks, which is fine if he’s projected to be a rim-running, shot-blocking center in the NBA, but given how unsuccessful he was playing the five during summer league, that’s unlikely.
Aside from his relation to Giannis, the appeal with Kostas is his physical makeup. At the 2018 NBA Draft Combine, Kostas showed off his 7’2.25” wingspan and 9’2″ standing reach. If he can fill out his 6’10”, 200 lb. frame and start to slow the game down for himself, the Lakers might have a genuinely intriguing prospect on their hands.
If not, at least they got to show off their practice facility to the younger brother of one of the league’s biggest soon-to-be free agents.
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