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Jason Kidd gives Giannis Antetokounmpo DNP-CD, won’t explain why

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 23: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 and head coach Jason Kidd of the Milwaukee Bucks talk before the game against the Chicago Bulls on February 23, 2015 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Gary Dineen

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.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“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.

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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.