It's all greek to Antetokounmpo as Bucks host 76ers
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MILWAUKEE -- Giannis Antetokounmpo is off to a good start this season.
Through three games, Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.3 points, a league-best 16.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.3 blocks -- all of which, except for his blocks, would represent career highs over the course of an entire season.
Still, it's not quite good enough for Antetokounmpo.
"It's the third game of the season, new coach, new game plan," Antetokounmpo said. "I'm just trying to figure it out and I will. When I do it's going to be so easy. I'll be a beast out there."
That's not exactly comforting news for the rest of the NBA, but it's encouraging to coach Mike Budenholzer, whose Bucks are off to a 3-0 start and will try to stay undefeated Wednesday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.
"I think Giannis is a smart player. He's going to figure out a lot of things on his own. He doesn't need my help," Budenholzer said.
Antetokounmpo scored 31 points in Milwaukee's victory over the Knicks on Monday night and after spending his offseason working on a 3-point shot, he missed his first 11 before breaking the slump late against New York.
Budenholzer is confident that Antetokounmpo will continue his improvement.
"I think as long as he continues to trust his teammates, continue to play with the pass, make good reads and make good decisions, he's going to be great," Budenholzer said. "The ball is in his hands a lot, he's in attack mode a lot and I think he is playing with the pass really at a pretty high rate. I want him to be perfect, so either that's his curse or whatever you want to call it."
Philadelphia comes to Milwaukee looking to bounce back after falling in overtime 133-132 on Tuesday night at Detroit.
Ben Simmons sat that contest out with back tightness but coach Brett Brown was optimistic he'd be available against the Bucks.
"He didn't feel as comfortable as we would have wanted," Brown said. "It was just one of those things that with a back-to-back game, we're giving him the best chance we can give him to possibly play (Wednesday).
"We felt like it's wise to sit him (against Detroit)."
The reigning rookie of the year is averaging 12 points, 9.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists this season.
"There's no point in rushing," Simmons said. "It's only the fourth game. Let's just see how it feels."
While Simmons sat, Mike Muscala saw his first action of the season Tuesday and scored five points.
Muscala, acquired from Atlanta in a three-team deal that included the Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder this past summer, averaged 4.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.6 minutes during the 76ers four preseason games but had been sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Khris Middleton is also off to a strong start for the Bucks, averaging 24 points after scoring 30 against New York. He was 11-for-14 from the field versus Knicks and is shooting 54.4 percent from the floor this season.
Updated October 23, 2018