The Milwaukee Bucks shocked the NBA world when they announced the firing of head coach Adrian Griffin on Tuesday. The decision to part ways with the first-year head coach came after nail-biting wins against the Detroit Pistons, arguably the worst team in league this year. However, it was not a decision that was made lightly, nor was it one that was made over night.
According to a report by multiple writers at The Athletic, including Shams Charania and Eric Nehm, concerns over Griffin’s ability to lead the team have been bubbling for months. Their In-Season Tournament loss to the Indiana Pacers, a 40-point blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the team’s lack of improvement over the course of the season all contributed to the decision.
Additionally, misuse of Damian Lillard, who was acquired before the season in a blockbuster deal that included Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen, contributed to the decision. Lillard is averaging 25.3 points and 6.8 assists per game after averaging 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game last season.
Finally, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was reportedly the voice behind Griffin’s hiring in the first place, had lost faith in his head coach. After a recent loss, the two-time MVP bemoaned that the players had no idea what their defensive strategy was.
The Milwaukee Bucks Name Joe Prunty as Their Interim Head Coach After Firing Adrian Griffin
Without Griffin at the helm, the Bucks needed a coach to step in while they search for a long-term solution. As a result, the Bucks turned to a familiar face: assistant coach Joe Prunty.
Prunty was also the team’s interim head coach head Jason Kidd was fired in the middle of the 2017-2018 season. He led the Bucks to a 21-16 record in their last 37 games and took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs that year.
The next season, Prunty was replaced by Mike Budenholzer.
The Milwaukee Bucks Are Looking to Hire Doc Rivers as Head Coach
According to that same report in The Athletic, the Bucks want to replace Griffin in the long-run with one-time NBA Champion Doc Rivers, who was fired as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers after last season ended.
Per the report:
“League sources say Doc Rivers, who signed on as an ESPN analyst after getting fired by the Philadelphia 76ers in May 2023, began to serve as an informal consultant to Griffin at the behest of the Bucks. One month later, multiple sources briefed on the matter now indicate that Rivers is the serious leader for the now-vacant position and the preferred choice of key stakeholders.”
Rivers has a head coaching record of 1,097-763 with the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, and 76ers.