Giannis Antetokounmpo: Playing with FIBA rules I was like a prisoner

2019-10-10T12:23:59+00:00 2019-10-10T12:29:19+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

10/Oct/19 12:23

Giannis Antetokounmpo opened the 2019 NBA preseason with a positive outing.

By John Askounis/

It was just a preseason game, but Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted feeling much more comfortable playing within the NBA rules. The Greek Freak is coming off his participation in the 2019 FIBA World Cup competing under FIBA rules and thoroughly enjoyed the differences NBA brings to the table.

“It felt very good” admitted the reigning NBA MVP replying to a question on his impressive first dunk in the Milwaukee Bucks home prep tilt versus the Utah Jazz. He stormed down the court, made his way through the defense and punished the rim. It was a trademark play not observed as much as expected in the World Cup.

Finding similar space under the restrictions of the FIBA rules proved a challenge. Antetokounmpo struggled against World Cup defenses that would consistently pack his lane to the bucket and prevent him from offering more highlight dunks. Ultimately, Greece was held to 11th place.

“Playing with FIBA I was like a prisoner.” he mentioned talking about his tough experience in China. “I just got out of the cage, the cell. I am free now.”

In the World Cup in 25 minutes per game, he averaged 14.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.4 steals per match. The Bucks certainly expect a larger contribution this upcoming season and Antetokounmpo himself is ready to deliver.

“The rules, the way basketball is played in FIBA, the spacing. I felt like I was playing one against five every time I had the ball” he said looking back on the summer global competition, “It’s totally different here. I prefer NBA basketball.”