NBA

Giannis focused on building good 'habits' not Bucks' poor preseason form

By Sports Desk October 13, 2022

Giannis Antetokounmpo has no concerns over the Milwaukee Bucks' poor preseason results but does want to see an improvement to the team's "habits".

The Bucks are 0-5 in exhibition games following a 107-97 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, a clash in which Antetokounmpo had 24 points on the back of 6-for-21 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds.

While such results may seem at odds with the Bucks' standing as one of the favourites for the NBA title this coming campaign, Antetokounmpo acknowledged there is plenty of time to find rhythm during the regular season.

However, the Greek superstar wants to see an improvement with some basics on the floor.

"It doesn't worry me," Antetokounmpo said. "What worries me is our habits and building good habits.

"Right now, we're not vocal enough. We're not urgent enough. We're not hungry enough. But at the end of the day, it's the preseason. We have the whole regular season to find ourselves."

Having featured for Greece at Eurobasket during the close season, Antetokounmpo has had his minutes carefully managed by the Bucks, with the Nets game just his second tune-up action.

While conceding to feeling "a little bit out of rhythm", Antetokounmpo is ready to once again set the tone for the Bucks.

"It's not going to be easy. I think sometimes your mind forgets and thinks it's going to be easy. But I feel like, me personally, you've got to come out and set the tone, play hard," he added.

"Build good habits, play to improve, play for the team. And as a team, we have to be hungry, we've got to play together, we have to defend better."

Grayson Allen (illness), Pat Connaughton (calf) and Wesley Matthews (ankle) were all absent against the Nets - the latter having sat out all of the Bucks' warm-up matches.

Khris Middleton will definitely miss their season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers having only recently returned to practice following wrist surgery.

But Antetokounmpo has confidence in the depth of the roster.

"Guys are down, who knows when they're going to get back, so this is who we have right now," he said. 

"We still have a great team, but we're seven or eight days from the next game and when it really counts. We've got to buckle down and start trying to build good habits."

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