The Milwaukee Bucks are off to a dismal start this season, with a 5-19 record heading into Wednesday’s action, and evaluation mode appears to have already started with rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo starting at shooting guard in place of O.J. Mayo (personal) against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Over his last three game Antetokounmpo is averaging 12.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, while also seeing the floor for more than 30 minutes in two of those contests.
Should fantasy basketball owners have Antetokounmpo on their radar?
Antetokounmpo has noteworthy per-36 minute averages (11.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.4 blocked shots and one steal) so far this season, which points to solid upside as a multi-category contributor for fantasy owners with the prospect of more playing time. The Bucks have been riddled by injuries, as Khris Middleton, Ersan Ilyasova, Caron Butler, Larry Sanders, Gary Neal and Zaza Pachulia are all dealing with issues ranging from nagging to long-term, so Antetokounpo is in line for significant minutes in the near-term.
Some ups and downs can be expected from Antetokounmpo as he takes on a bigger role, but as long as he stays healthy he should get as many minutes as he can handle over the rest of the season. Even if everyone attached to the Bucks’ organization denies any allegations they are tanking for a better chance at the No.1 pick next June, there is no reason to give veterans that are not part of the team’s long-term plans significant playing time during what has become a lost season.
Antetokounmpo is worthy of attention in deep leagues right now, and owners that have a roster spot currently occupied by a low-upside veteran can consider adding him. But his value may be greatest in keeper leagues, since he recently turned 19 and may still be growing physically.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.