Giannis Antetokounmpo had started the last 64 games for the Milwaukee Bucks, and had appeared in the team’s last 145 before he was unceremoniously benched by head coach Jason Kidd in advance of Wednesday night’s contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Not only was Kidd not interested in discussing his reasons with reporters afterward, invoking the “coach’s decision” response six separate times, but he accused the media members who were present of asking “stupid questions” about why Antetokounmpo didn’t play.
A day later, Kidd was no less obstinate in discussing the situation.
“You look back, Khris (Middleton) was down and didn’t play,” Kidd said. “I think it’s fair to say this isn’t the first time it happened.”
“Were any of the guys surprised?” Kidd said of Giannis not playing. “Because when you ask them, no one was surprised.”
Kidd said he chose not to disclose his exact reasons but hinted there were different factors. He said it was not punishment.
More Kidd: “Coach’s decision; that’s pretty powerful when it’s said. I think Pop made it famous when he put for Duncan, old behind it.”
I hate to go all #wellactually on Kidd here, but when Gregg Popovich rested Tim Duncan for a game in 2012, he didn’t stubbornly stick to “coach’s decision.” Instead, he had fun with it by listing Duncan as DND-Old, meaning the reason he didn’t dress for that game was due to his relatively advanced age.
When Kidd similarly benched Khris Middleton out of nowhere earlier in the year, Middleton admitted to being shocked, which was likely the desired reaction.
Antetokounmpo handled it professionally, even if Kidd has not, and he’s expected to return to the lineup for Friday’s contest against the Knicks.