The NBA is in a wave of change, with teams reshaping their rosters every day in a desperate battle for the playoffs. But no move has captured attention quite like the Milwaukee Bucks’ bombshell announcement that they’re parting ways with their highly successful head coach, Adrian Griffin.
This sudden departure leaves the Bucks without a leader at a critical moment. However, they’ve already come up with a list of potential replacements, each with their own strengths and qualifications to guide the team through this challenging stretch.
Who will replace Adrian Griffin as Bucks next HC?
Last year, the Bucks hired Adrian Griffin to take over as coach in place of Mike Budenholzer. Ever since, the coach has been instrumental in implementing newer and more aggressive coaching strategies, none of which have worked out for the defense-reliant Milwaukee Bucks. Apart from his tactics, the Bucks’ front office was also concerned about the coach’s lackluster usage of the newly acquired Damian Lillard.
While the team has been dominant and boasts a 30-13 record, the firing of the coach was led by internal skepticism and distrust in the coach. Following their In-Season Tournament failure to the Pacers, Bucks player Bobby Portis seemed to be extremely frustrated and questioned the coach’s authority and tactics in a reported incident. The internal antics also involved the parting of ways with Terry Stotts, the former assistant coach of the team and the lack of trust eventually led to the Bucks firing Adrian Griffin.
With an open coaching job on the line, multiple candidates are in the race to coach Giannis Antetokounmpo and the team. Leading the pack is none other than veteran coach Doc Rivers, who was an informal consultant to Adrian Griffin, according to The Athletic. Rivers’ track record as a coach is remarkable and he is a contender for the coaching positions of other teams. Along with his singular championship against Phil Jackson’s Lakers in 2008, the coach has coaching experience spanning about 25 years and has coached multiple superstars in the span of his career.
Doc Rivers isn’t the only reputed candidate on the list. Other coaches who are on the market now include Mike D’Antoni, Dave Joerger and even the former Bucks head coach, Mike Budenholzer. One of the most sound options on the shortlist of the Bucks is former Nets’ coach Kenny Atkinson and current assistant in the Golden State Warriors.
Atkinson’s coaching prowess was evident during the 2018–19 season with the Brooklyn Nets, which featured a talented roster including D’Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert. The team’s impressive sixth place finish in the Eastern Conference was largely attributed to their lethal defensive rotations set by Atkinson. Nevertheless, the coach was let go shortly after the arrival of big stars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, which necessitated a sudden, dynamic change in their approach. Unfortunately, Atkinson was not able to rise to the challenge at that time.
The next coach the Bucks choose will need to have a big influence on how the club plays defense if they are to regain their image as a top defensive team. Could the next coach be Doc Rivers, Terry Stotts, Kenny Atkinson, or their former coach, Budenholzer? The decision facing the Milwaukee Bucks is undoubtedly a difficult one.
Amidst the chaos, Lakers legend and former executive Magic Johnson criticized the Bucks for hiring Adrian Griffin saying, “I think the Bucks firing former Head Coach Adrian Griffin was a big mistake. It’s not his fault the Bucks traded their best on-ball defender, Jrue Holiday. They are not a good defensive team and are all-around too slow.”
Meanwhile, multiple reports broke out that Doc Rivers had been appointed as the Bucks’ coach, which was eventually ruled out as fake news. While the news is ignorable, it shows that all fingers point towards Doc Rivers becoming the potential head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
What do you think of the sudden firing of Adrian Griffin? Did the Bucks make a mistake with this drastic decision? Who is the next coach of the Milwaukee Bucks? We are eager to know your thoughts and opinions on the issue, so feel free to comment below.