Giannis, Middleton have nowhere to shoot during NBA stoppage

It’s been more than three weeks since the Milwaukee Bucks last played a game. The loss to the Denver Nuggets came March 9 and the league shutdown two days later after the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. No one knows when the league will start back up but many players are trying to stay ready.

That’s proven a little bit difficult for members of the Bucks, including superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. With the NBA mandating team facilities be closed, he’s got nowhere to get up some shots.

“I don’t have access to a hoop,” Antetokounmpo said in a conference call Friday. “A lot of NBA players might have a court in their house or something, but I just get home workouts. Try to ride your bike, treadmill, lift weights and stay sharp that way. But, yeah, I don’t play basketball at all.”

Teammate Khris Middleton is facing a similar issue.

“If the practice facility is closed down, I don’t have any access to a basketball goal unless I go to one of my neighbors’ houses and shoot outside,” Middleton said “It’s really no basketball for me. Basically, like Giannis said, it’s treadmill, jump rope, some weights and that’s it. I have a couple basketballs I can dribble in my house or outside but not an actual goal to go shoot on.”

The uncertainty of when, or if, the season will start up again remains a constant on the minds of players, coaches and front office types alike. Earlier this week, GM Jon Horst and coach Mike Budenholzer said they were confident and optimistic that things would get going again, but it sounds as if Middleton is just taking it day-by-day.

“The NBA is going to do the best that they can to make sure not to put anybody at risk for all the reasons out there right now,” Middleton said. “If we play, we’ll be ready for that. If we don’t, we’ll definitely be disappointed, but I think everybody will understand that it’s bigger than basketball at this point.”