Antetokounmpo picked for Rising Stars Challenge
FEB 06, 2014 8:45p ET
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the subject of numerous profiles and stories for the past few months, but a popular one has been where the 19-year-old Greek forward would go if the 2013 NBA Draft was redone.
It's a fun hypothetical and discussion point but a question nobody will ever be able to answer. Antetokounmpo was, however, involved in a different kind of draft Thursday night on TNT.
Milwaukee's rising rookie sensation was picked 11th overall by analyst Grant Hill in the draft to determine the two teams for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge during the NBA's All-Star weekend.
This is the third year the rookies and sophomores have been combined into teams via a fantasy draft, as Hill and Chris Webber took over general manager duties for this year's game from Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal.
"He's going to be an All Star in about five years," Barkley said after Hill made the pick.
Nine players picked ahead of Antetokounmpo in last June's draft were not selected for the game, included No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett of Cleveland.
Joining Antetokounmpo on Team Hill are Damian Lillard (Portland), Bradley Beal (Washington), Andre Drummond (Detroit), Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Terrance Jones (Houston), Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto), Dion Waiters (Cleveland) and Pero Antic (Atlanta).
The Rising Stars Challenge, held Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. CT at Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans, isn't the only All-Star event Antetokounmpo will take part in. The rookie will also participate in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday.
Antetokounmpo joins LeBron James as the only non-guard ever to be in the Skills Challenge, a timed journey through an obstacle course that tests a player's dribbling, passing and shooting.
Milwaukee has only had one player participate in the Skills Challenge since it began in 2003, as Brandon Jennings took part as a rookie in 2010. Bucks point guard Brandon Knight was in the Skills Challenge last season as a member of the Pistons.
Picked 15th overall in last June's draft, Antetokounmpo has quickly gone from unknown to being labeled as the future of the Bucks franchise. He's averaging 7.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game, but has displayed flashes of vast potential over 44 games and 21 starts.
Going bowling: The Bucks took a break from practice Thursday not only to let a banged up roster rest, but also for a bit of a team-building experience.
Bucks coach Larry Drew had the team report to the BMO Harris Bradley Center before telling them they were going bowling.
According to posts on social media, Knight and Khris Middleton were the team's top bowlers.
The timing is fitting, as the Bucks will host "Bowl for the Cure" on Friday afternoon at AMF Bowlero in Milwaukee.
The event benefits the Wisconsin affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation with funds in support of breast cancer research, awareness and education.
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