While it may have come as a shock for many (including yours truly), the fact of the matter is that the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to part ways with Adrian Griffin did NOT come out of nowhere. The front office has been monitoring this situation closely and while they may have given Coach Griff as much leeway as they possibly could, it just came to a point that they needed to make a tough call.
Now that we can start peeling through the initial shock of this unexpected turn of events, several issues start to emerge that all point to the notion that the decision to fire Griffin had been a long time coming.
Milwaukee Bucks Players Lost Faith in Adrian Griffin
At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that Adrian Griffin was no longer fit to play the role of the team’s head coach. According to a report by Shams Charania, Sam Amick, and Eric Nehm of The Athletic, one compelling factor that played a significant part in all this is the fact that Griffin had already started losing the Bucks locker room:
“In January, the Bucks have a 6-5 record and internally, team sources say, players began to question Griffin’s schemes on both sides of the floor and the strategy that was being laid out for them each night.
“While players were willing to be patient with Griffin as he learned on the job because of the team’s vast personnel changes at the start of the season, their questions grew more significant as the team failed to show substantial growth at the season’s midway point,” read the report.
This isn’t the first time the players questioned Griffin’s ways. Early in the season, the team demanded that they make significant changes on the defensive end amid their slow start. In particular, they wanted Brook Lopez to revert to drop coverage — a suggestion that Griffin decided to listen to.
A few months later, veteran Bobby Portis reportedly called Griffin out in front of the entire team after a tough loss to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinal. Portis, Griffin, and the Bucks were quick to play down the supposed spat but now that we have the benefit of hindsight, it’s possible that this may have left a significant crack in Griffin’s relationship with his players.
“According to team sources, the issues plaguing Griffin’s early tenure ranged from putting together strong schemes on both ends of the floor for the Bucks to fulfill their championship potential to successfully communicating his vision to his players for them to execute it on the floor. But the bottom line, given the high stakes of this Bucks era, the concern over Griffin’s ability became a question too big for the Bucks’ executive leadership to withstand any longer,” read the report.
This is all water under the bridge now. Surely, more reports will come out in the coming days that will attempt to identify the real reason behind Griffin’s exit. However, it’s hard to deny that his relationship with his players — or perhaps the lack thereof — played an undeniably important role in his departure.
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