The Comparison is real: Look no further than David Blatt to Ty Lue
The Milwaukee Bucks made a mistake in hiring a rookie head coach. Like a rookie player, it takes time to get used to the NBA landscape. Adrian Griffin checks a lot of boxes as to why he should run an NBA team. He just didn’t check, ultimately, the most important one: how to deal with the stars. (And craft strong rotations. His player rotations stunk.) This franchise doesn’t have the time, or patience, to wait for a coach to figure it out.
The Milwaukee Bucks are a team operating on a two-year Championship Window. If the team can’t win it all this year, they are set up to make a run next year. But after that, that’s it. Middleton, Dame, and to a certain extent even Giannis have the flexibility to move on.
They have dealt so many picks and spent so much money to go for it all, right now.
This team and this franchise want to go for another one. Having a rookie head coach just was a bad fit. From looking lost on the sidelines to suspect defensive alignments and player rotations, the change is already here.
Why Adrian Griffin is the new “David Blatt”
Ty Lue took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA Championship, ultimately defeating the Warriors in a classic NBA series. Down 3-1, the Cavs stormed back to win it all.
And Lue was a midseason hire. He started the year under the impression the job was his
“Before they offered me the assistant job, I thought the job was mine,” he said. “They had called me and told me like, ‘This is your job. We’re going to do the press conference. We’ll call you back later.’ So, I took a nap. I woke up and on ESPN it said you know, ‘David Blatt has been named the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.’”
~ “The Old Man and the Three”
Lue has gone on to have a great NBA Head Coaching career. He is the current coach of the LA Clippers. Again, his ability to deal with star players has helped guide the Clippers to, so far, a great season. That team will compete to win an NBA championship.
Related: (Written Back in Nov)
Will history repeat itself? It looks like whoever is primed to take over certainly wants to replicate that success.
What other midseason coaching changes have led to success, outside of the David Blatt firing?
- In 2005-06 The Miami Heat fired Stan Van Gundy who was 11-10. They brought in Pat Riley who led the team to a 41-20. That Heat team went on to win the NBA Finals. More Riley magic.
- In 2004-05 The Denver Nuggets fired Jeff Bzdelik who went 13-15. Then Michael Cooper went 4-10. Finally, George Karl led the team to a 32-8. For Karl to take over 17-15 team and then go 32-8 is impressive. However, that Denver team made the playoffs but lost in the first round.
- In the 1981-82 season the LA Lakers fired Paul Westhead who started 7-4. Pat Riley then came in and led the team to a 50-21 record. Handing Riley a team rarely is a bad idea – these Lakers won the NBA Finals.
Can Rivers do this in Milwaukee? Are the Bucks going to give him a shot? I’d be willing to bet the former Marquette alumni could, if given the chance.
Why it probably should be Doc Rivers
The former Marquette Alumni has had a tremendously successful basketball career as both a player and a coach. He has won an NBA Championship (2008) as the head coach of the Celtics. He averaged 11 points a game in the NBA over 864 career games.
He knows basketball. And he has “his guys”, his staff, and his plays all ready to go. He will get the Bucks in playoff-ready shape.
The 62 yr old has been rumored to have been helping the Bucks all along.
For all of this to work, Rivers would be an outstanding hire. He would also be someone who can figure out the Giannis/Dame combo without getting star struck. The Milwaukee Bucks, if they haven’t already, should make the move to Rivers.
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