Hayward & Antetokounmpo Are Not The Same
Media types try to fit two different things into one hole all of the time. We see it in entertainment, sports, and politics. Currently, that’s what the national media is doing with Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. They’re trying to think of the next small-market star to leave after Gordon Hayward’s departure from Utah Jazz. What people are missing is the fact they are two really different players with different backgrounds. It’s an extreme reach from anyone, and people are headline hunting.
I obviously respect Adrian Wojnarowski, but he threw out a baseless claim of an expectation of people/teams to talk to Giannis prior to free agency. Wojnarowski, if you remember, is the same guy who said Jason Kidd would some day be the General Manager of the team. He doesn’t always have a good read on Bucks. They are different players entirely and here’s why…
Hayward played for Brad Stevens, head coach of Boston Celtics. Stevens also played a role in recruiting Hayward, a virtual unknown, and made him into a top 10 pick in the NBA Draft. Hayward owes Stevens a great deal of his success. This isn’t something where he’s paying the former Butler coach back, rather, this is a comfort level decision to play for the first coach that gave him a chance to be great.
Giannis doesn’t really have that right now in the NBA. As he pointed on Twitter, he’s extremely loyal. Giannis doesn’t allow other coaches to work him out unless Bucks are there. Antetokounmpo appreciates Bucks giving him a chance to be an NBA player then developing him into a superstar. Much like Hayward, no one gave Giannis a chance to be great, and he’s done it with Milwaukee. The only person where you might say could move the needle is John Hammond, but are we sure he’ll be in Orlando four years down the road?
This is a bit of a reach, but consider this as well, when can you remember the last international star taking the money and going to another team? Marc Gasol stayed in Memphis. We know about Dirk Nowitzki and any Spurs’ stars. Pau Gasol got traded then signed with Chicago after his years of being a mid-tier star were done. The international players do not leave their teams on a regular basis.
Maybe, I’m being naive and not seeing the writing on the wall after Hayward, yet we should really consider all of the facts before trying to fit something together when it actually doesn’t.