Danny Ainge: Giannis Antetokounmpo a ‘Lot Like LeBron’

by April 26, 2019

Giannis Antetokounmpo is “a lot like” LeBron James, according to Celtics president of basketball ops Danny Ainge.

Which must be an especially painful admission for Ainge, who passed on Antetokounmpo in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks will host the C’s in Game 1 of their second round playoffs series Sunday.

Per The Boston Herald:

“Sure, I mean, I second-guess a lot of guys,” he said. “But, yeah, based on the information I had at the time of the draft, I don’t really second-guess.

“But based on the information from when I first saw him in the summer league, I absolutely started second-guessing,” Ainge added through a chuckle, his eyes widening. “Like, who is that kid right there?”

The C’s wanted to pick Kelly Olynyk, so they traded up from 16 to Dallas’ spot at 13. Antetokounmpo, gifted but very raw, went at 15 to Milwaukee.

“He’s a lot like LeBron in some ways, in that he’s just a good all-around player,” said Ainge. “Shooting may be his biggest weakness, but it doesn’t really matter if he even makes shots; he’s just so effective at still scoring and scoring efficiently and creating offense. And obviously LeBron’s become a very good shooter as his career has moved on, and Giannis is getting better, too. But the fact is that they’re just bigger and more athletic than most everybody they go against, and they have such versatility offensively and defensively.

“One thing I really appreciate about Giannis as a player is his enthusiasm and passion for the game. I think it’s a very underrated characteristic, and I think that he is an inspirational player to his team. His teammates, they really appear to love playing with Giannis.”

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