The Milwaukee Bucks filled their head coach vacancy with one of the NBA’s most familiar faces. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Doc Rivers will replace Adrian Griffin. The move was first announced by CNN Sports Tuesday night, leading to mass confusion around the Internet.
Did the Bucks want Doc Rivers as head coach all along?
Yesterday, Milwaukee fired Griffith just 43 games into his first head coaching role. Griffin got the Bucks off to the seventh-best start through 43 games in franchise history (30-13).
Rivers was already involved with the Bucks during Griffith’s tenure, according to a report from The Athletic. The 1999-2000 Coach of the Year winner served as an informal consultant to Griffin “at the behest of the Bucks.” Rivers was also a commentator for ESPN’s NBA broadcasts and made routine appearances covering the NBA for The Ringer’s The Bill Simmons Show.
Rivers is now on his fifth team since the turn of the century, having previously coached with the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers. He also served in an executive role with the Clippers from 2013 to 2017.
Since leaving Boston in 2013, Rivers has failed to make a single Conference Finals appearance despite the massive collection of talent around him. After leaving Boston’s Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, Rivers has gone on to coach Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Joel Embiid, and James Harden at or near the peak of their athletic ability. That doesn’t even count Hall of Famers like Tracy McGrady, Ben Wallace, and Grant Hill from his early Magic days.
Now, we can officially add Giannis Antentokounmpo and Damian Lillard to that list. Let’s see how far Doc can elevate them.