Kostas Antetokounmpo signs a two-way contract with the Mavericks
By Ben Zajdel
The Dallas Mavericks have signed Kostas Antetokounmpo to a two-way contract, per the New York Times‘ Marc Stein. Antetokounmpo will join the Mavericks’ G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.
The signing is somewhat surprising, at least to me. I thought for sure that Kostas Antetokounmpo would be a draft-and-stash in Europe. He’s about as raw as they come, though there’s obvious potential. Don’t forget, his brother Giannis was an unfinished product when he showed up in the league in 2013. I think Kostas is more of a project than Giannis ever was, however.
Kostas hasn’t exactly lit up the Las Vegas Summer League. He’s only averaged 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and less than an assist per game. By contrast, Jalen Jones, whom the Mavericks just waived to make room for Antetokounmpo, has put up respectable averages of 11 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. At face value, that seems a little odd. But consider their ages, Jones is 25 years old, Kostas only 20.
Perhaps the Mavs front office sees something we don’t. We aren’t privy to the practices they see, or their scouting reports, or the numbers their analytics guys run. One thing they may see is his length and rim protecting ability.
Antetokounmpo stands 6’11” with a 7’2″ wingspan and an 8’11” standing reach, per Draft Express. Kostas averaged more than a block per game during the Las Vegas Summer League, and about the same in his one year of college at Dayton.
It’s easy to speculate that this signing is aimed to produce some goodwill with Giannis, who could possibly be a free agent in the summer of 2021. While this is certainly possible, I think picking Kostas and signing him to a two-way contract displays a shift in the Mavericks’ strategy when it comes to talent.
Dallas is willing to take the time to develop young players instead of constantly trying to hit home runs with free agents. If that also happens to entice one of the league’s best players to sign with the Mavs, that’s just a bonus.
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Signing Kostas to a two-way contract is a smart move from a Mavericks front office that continues to have a successful offseason. They’ll have to show patience to reap benefits from a player like Antetokounmpo, but lately Dallas has shown signs they’re willing to play the long game.