Over the first three games of the season for the Milwaukee Bucks, starting center Brook Lopez has averaged 26.2 minutes per contest. This is exactly why some fans ended up questioning why the former All-Star ended up playing less than 17 minutes in Wednesday’s brutal loss to the Toronto Raptors.
The game ended up being a blowout in favor of the home team, but the rest of Milwaukee’s starters still logged significantly more minutes than Lopez did on the evening. In fact, even the minutes-capped Khris Middleton played more than Lopez did against Toronto.
Milwaukee Bucks Coach Explains Brook Lopez Benching
Middleton checked back in the game after less than two minutes into the second half. He replaced Lopez in the lineup, who for his part, did not return to the game until less than nine minutes into the final period.
As it turns out, however, this had nothing to do with Lopez’s play on the evening. According to head coach Adrian Griffin, he merely wanted to give Middleton more playing time:
“I thought Khris was done, but he wasn’t,” Griffin said, via Bucks beat reporter Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “So when I found out he wasn’t, I put Khris in and then tried to go small. That’s all it was. Brook didn’t do anything wrong, but I thought initially Khris was done with his minutes, but he had a few more, so I wanted to throw him back in there.”
Middleton’s playing time appears to be capped at 17 minutes per game as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery. That was the amount of minutes he played against the Miami Heat on Monday, and he logged the same minutes in Wednesday’s loss.
It would be interesting to find out why Griffin didn’t realize the fact that Middleton had more minutes available than he did. You would think that the head coach should have had a better grasp on all this during the game, or at least one of his assistants should have reminded him earlier.
Either way, this is yet another lesson to be learned by the rookie coach and his staff.
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