Giannis Antetokounmpo had played the Bucks’ last 145 games, including starting the last 64.
Until last night.
Jason Kidd gave the second-year forward a DNP-CD in Milwaukee’s loss to the Cavaliers.
“He didn’t tell me,” Antetokounmpo answered when asked when head coach Jason Kidd told him he would sit. “No, he didn’t tell me.”
Was the benching for being late to practice? For rest? Because of an injury?
“I don’t know,” Antetokounmpo said after the game. “It was coach’s decision — I don’t know — for me not to play today.”
Kidd made it clear that sitting the 6-foot-11 second-year forward was his decision. He invoked the phrase “coach’s decision” six times during his postgame press conference.
“Coach’s decision,” Kidd said for the fourth time. “It was a coach’s decision. I don’t know what, you guys can’t hear? …You guys are smart. How about the game?”
Whatever the reasoning behind Kidd’s decision was, it wasn’t because Antetokounmpo is injured. The head coach was blunt with his answer when asked if there was a health issue involved.
“No, he was breathing,” Kidd said.
Announcement: Play one-day fantasy basketball for cash! ProBasketballTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 league for Thursday’s NBA games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $8,000. Starts tonight at 8:00pm ET. Enter now!
If Antetokounmpo truly doesn’t know why he sat, that’s poor coaching by Kidd. Communication is key to building trust with players.
Either way, Kidd antagonizing the media for asking about the decision is poor form. He’s obviously not obligated to share his reasoning, but there’s clearly more to this than he’s letting on. You don’t just bench a player like Antetokounmpo for no reason. Reporters are going to inquire.
We’ll probably learn more at some point, though that’s hardly a lock.
The Bucks will probably finish with the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they haven’t even clinched a playoff berth. What could Antetokounmpo have done to sit him during this key stretch? And was it bad enough for him to miss more games?
I don’t know how many people know the answer to those questions, but Kidd is one – and he’s not telling.