The NBA is suspending Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo for the Bucks’ final seeding game on Thursday for head bump on Wizards’ Mo Wagner, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 12, 2020
Giannis will miss tomorrow’s matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies, where the Bucks have nothing to play for and the Grizzlies are literally fighting for their playoff lives.
The Athletic’s Eric Nehm detailed the “feud” between Giannis and Wagner, and a quick perusal of the comments over at our friends at Bullets Forever give the same impression: Giannis made a dumb decision, but Wagner’s best (only?) NBA skill is irritating opponents and goading superior players into taking themselves out of the game.
There’s not much to take away for Milwaukee in this situation. Giannis had been enduring sustained physicality from the Wizards, just like he has been for the past few years. Few players create and deal with as much contact as the Greek Freak, but Wagner’s contact blurred the lines between “basketball” and “full-contact rugby,” with his pushes, trips, and other questionable moves. He was pushed to his limit and, for whatever reason, he broke. He has to be smarter, and he knows it.
"Terrible action. If I could go back and turn back time and go back to that play I wouldn't do it," Giannis says of the headbutt.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) August 12, 2020
Much of the commentary around here has been the role of Giannis’ teammates and coaches. Some are claiming that the duty to retaliate should have fallen to one of the Bucks’ enforcers in yesterday’s game, including (but not limited to) Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Sterling Brown, or literal big brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo. This may make sense in principle, but less when considering it was a meaningless regular season game, and such antics in the playoffs are less likely to escalate to the point that this incident did.
What do you think? What should have happened in this game, or what should happen if the same sort of situation brews in the playoffs? If the Bucks aren’t in the same bracket as Marcus Smart and the Boston Celtics, which team or player would you think the most likely to draw the same type of ire as Mo Wagner has?