Former back-to-back NBA MVP averaged 29.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 4.7 assists under Itoudis. But Giannis team was stopped by Germany in the quarterfinals 96-107. “You need to make certain adjustments in strategy, spacing, and how your opponents play and build the wall in Europe without a three-second violation. It’s more an adjustment for Giannis because he plays a lot from his instincts,” Itoudis explained his first coaching experience building a team around Antetokounmpo.
“There’s a lot of development there to happen. He needs to evolve his game in the European scene, working with certain adjustments that other teams are doing because of the characteristics, skills, advantages, and disadvantages he might have in his game. He is open to discussing and discovering new ways to help the team and his teammates, which makes him very important to the team and chemistry,” he continued in an interview with BasketNews. “But regarding cooperation, I would say it was very smooth. Giannis wants to be coached. It starts with his humbleness. He has both his feet on the ground. He has a lot to grow as a player, and he knows that. The fact is that he likes the sport, and he’s a living example. In that term, it was easy,” the coach emphasized.
The Milwaukee Bucks sent six people to follow Giannis on his national team campaign. However, Itoudis indirectly questioned the involvement of the NBA clubs in national teams. “In the aspect of approaching and working with the player that is an asset for the NBA team, it’s different. I had to work with six people from the Bucks daily on how Giannis must be treated in load management, the pain he may have, and other things. It’s not as it is with European players. Maybe we will come to the point where Olympiacos will say, ‘Let’s manage Sloukas this way.’ Maybe Partizan says, ‘Let’s manage Papapetrou this way.’ Or Fener will come and say, ‘Manage Calathes this way,” Itoudis hinted.