Giannis Antetokounmpo tells Doc Rivers what he needs to do to deliver Milwaukee Bucks title

The Milwaukee Bucks have hired Doc Rivers as their new head coach to get the organization back to the NBA Finals for the first time since winning the championship in 2021.

Giannis Antetokounmpo trusts that the Milwaukee Bucks hiring Doc Rivers as their new head coach to replace Adrian Griffin will improve their chances of winning another championship.

Antetokounmpo, 29, played a part in the Bucks hiring Griffin after vouching for the veteran assistant coach to get the job during the interview process. The two-time MVP met with Griffin, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson and former Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who ultimately dropped out and later took the Philadelphia 76ers job vacated by Rivers.

After firing Griffin, Atkinson was again a candidate, but Rivers, who had been advising the first-year head coach at the Bucks request over recent months. Antetokounmpo has now endorsed the decision-making from the front office

“I’ve got to trust the front office, I’ve got to trust the ownership group that they consider the bigger picture,” he told reporters after Wednesday night’s 126-116 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “My job is to be the best version of myself, to lead this team out there and help win games.

“Their job is to create the best team possible and the best atmosphere around the team possible that they believe gives us a better chance to win a championship. But yeah, I do think [firing Griffin] was a surprise.”

The move caught Antetokounmpo off-guard despite coming just days after calling out the entire team, including its coaches, after a 112-108 loss to the Houston Rockets earlier this month. “We have to be better,” he said.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's summer remarks may have led to the urgent hiring of now former Milwaukee Bucks coach Adrian Griffin
The Bucks front office still has the trust of Antetokounmpo 
Image:
Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“We have to play better, we have to defend better, we have to trust one another better, we have to be coached better. Every single thing, everybody has to be better.

“It starts from the equipment manager — he has to wash our clothes better. The bench has to be better, the leaders of the team have to be more vocal, we have to make more shots, we have to defend better, we have to have a better strategy, we have to be better. We have four months to get better, so we’ll see.”

Two weeks later, the Bucks have decided that getting better means making this year’s first in-season coaching change. The Washington Wizards followed them days later by moving Wes Unseld Jr. upstairs into the front office.

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