Doc Rivers could give Milwaukee Bucks same coaching problem as Adrian Griffin

Doc Rivers is set to be hired as the next head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, replacing Adrian Griffin who was harshly dismissed despite the franchise sitting second in the Eastern Conference

Doc Rivers is officially the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks after Adrian Griffin’s surprise dismissal – but the two may be more alike than the franchise realizes.

On Wednesday, Rivers reached an agreement with the Bucks to become the franchise’s next head coach. The veteran had emerged as the top target immediately after the surprising decision to dismiss Adrian Griffin, despite the Bucks sitting second in the Eastern Conference with a 30-13 record.

Milwaukee ultimately came to believe they could find an upgrade over Griffin; someone who gave them a better chance to compete for a championship and who gets the best out of the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard on the stacked Bucks roster. Based on Rivers’ accomplishments and availability, general manager Jon Horst pursued him to take the job and chase an elusive second NBA title as a coach.

According to The Athletic, the Bucks started discussions with Rivers as an informal consultant in early December and began working toward a lucrative contract to have him replace Griffin as head coach on Tuesday. However, questions must be asked about whether Rivers is the man to lead Milwaukee to the promised land.

For one, he has been handed the enviable task of unlocking the potential of the Antetokounmpo-Lillard tandem. Rivers failed to do so with Joel Embiid and James Harden in Philadelphia, as well as the exciting trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan in Los Angeles.

Since his championship-winning campaign with the Boston Celtics back in 2008 – 16 years ago – Rivers has consistently struggled to go deep in the playoffs, with the numbers making for interesting reading.
Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers is looking to win a second NBA championship as a head coach 
Image:

Getty Images)

Across its storied history, the NBA has seen just 13 blown 3-1 series leads – and Rivers has coached three of them. The 62-year-old is 6-10 in Game 7 in his career, which is by far the most losses for a coach in the final game in league history.

The Bucks, despite their fine start to the 2023-24 campaign, opted to dismiss Griffin as those inside the organization didn’t think he could navigate the postseason in the same way he was dealing with the regular season. This came after, according to The Athletic, the Bucks turned to Rivers to help the rookie head coach deal with his first year in charge.

Instead, Rivers ousted Griffin who struggled to establish a productive rapport with Antetokounmpo and co. Now, Rivers must accomplish what he has struggled to do since his Celtics and establish a productive rapport with the superstars at his disposal.

Since leaving Boston, Rivers has been able to go from one great situation to another. He has joined contender, to contender, to contender without winning an NBA championship.

It’s time to win.

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