Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Bucks and John Hammond chose me in the draft, got me in the NBA, kept me in the team with a role from my very first season and they are my basketball family. Not only that, but already at this young age, they have enough faith in me as a leader and they are doing everything in order to develop all of my potential. From my side, I feel that I want to be playing in the Bucks. I’m not talking about my next contract. The way I feel now, I want to keep playing for the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 20 years! You never know how life turns out. Three years ago I was thinking that I might be playing for Filathlitikos forever! All of a sudden, the draft emerged, the NBA, the Bucks and everything that followed. I don’t know how I’ll be feeling and thinking in 2, 3 or more years. Right now I feel like I want to play for the Milwaukee Bucks forever.
December 1, 2015 | 7:23 am EST Update
After being involved recently in a few embarrassing and potentially dangerous off-the-court incidents, Philadelphia 76ers star rookie Jahlil Okafor will now be accompanied by a security guard whenever he goes out, according to league sources. The request for security came from Okafor’s handlers, who asked the 76ers to make a security guard available to their first-round draft pick out of Duke. The Sixers did not return a phone call seeking comment, but two sources said the club will honor the request.
In late October, Okafor allegedly presented a fake I.D. at Misconduct Tavern in Center City, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation. Okafor, 19, was refused service, the sources said. One of the sources said he was surprised because Okafor is “a big guy” and “famous” and “pretty easy to recognize.”
As you are going forward with the franchise, you had a lot of losing and you don’t take losing easily. Was there a period of time where you thought, “Maybe this isn’t a good fit that isn’t going to work out”? Now, of course, you are in a situation where you have a long-term contract and there are a couple of cornerstone talents on the roster, which are so important in the NBA. Can you describe that evolution? Ricky Rubio: No, I never thought about leaving this franchise, for a lot of reasons. One of them is because they trusted me from the beginning. And I trust them. My first year I think we would have made the playoffs if I wouldn’t get hurt, but like I said, you can’t blame it on what happened — we didn’t make the playoffs. But I feel like I really didn’t have the opportunity to take this team to the playoffs. My first year we almost did it, my second year I was hurt. My third year we won 40 games, which is a pretty good amount, and then last year I got hurt again.
Ricky Rubio: So I felt like I never really had the opportunity to take this team to another level. And I think this is the year where we have great pieces in place and we are trying to win as many games as we can, to, if not this year, next year to be in the playoffs.
Knicks president Phil Jackson wasn’t that much a basketball genius that if Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Kristaps Porzingis were both on the draft board last June, he would’ve gone Latvian. According to an NBA source, as much as Jackson’s top adviser, Clarence Gaines Jr., wanted Jackson to take Porzingis even if the Knicks had the No. 1 pick, that wasn’t the way the Zen Master would have gone if it was a choice between the two big men. Okafor was Jackson’s man. “He had to draft Okafor — too much a sure thing,’’ the source said.