Newly hired Milwaukee Bucks coach Doc Rivers is all-too familiar with early postseason exits as are the Bucks who’ve endured some playoffs disappointment in recent years.
The Milwaukee Bucks hired Doc Rivers just three days after firing first-year head coach Adrian Griffin just 43 games into his tenure. With Rivers scheduled to make his Bucks coaching debut on Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans, Rivers is ready to take the Bucks to the top and compete for another championship.
Milwaukee Bucks and Rivers Seeking Championship
When Doc Rivers took into consideration what he wanted out of certain NBA teams that were offering him a coaching opportunity, winning a championship was top priority. Rivers said in his first press conference as the Bucks’ head coach that he had been contacted multiple times about coaching vacancies, but didn’t take any of the calls unless he knew it was the right call.
Milwaukee not only is the place where his retired jersey hangs in the rafters, but the place where he’s able to coach a team with two NBA superstars.
“You know the answer. Giannis, Dame. Really, that’s the answer,” Rivers said on Saturday. “Like, you look at their team. What is it, eight teams that have a legitimate shot? And I don’t know if it’s that high, but the Bucks are one of them, right?”
Rivers also said that this Milwaukee team is a team that is well-bonded and going to be the team you can connect with the easiest.
“The other thing is the way they’re built with the veterans and their grown-ups. I thought that if you’re gonna jump into this at this time of the year, this would be a type of group that you have the best opportunity to connect and change the quickest.”
No Bad Blood
When Griffin was fired, general manager Jon Horst said earlier in the week that Milwaukee needed a coach who could maximize the talent the team has, and was thrilled to get a deal with Rivers done so quickly.
“This has been a difficult couple of days, but a great couple of days,” Horst said. “We talked a few days ago about identifying a coach who could lead and maximize this team’s talent in a window where we have a real chance to compete.”
Rivers also said that him and Griffin speak regularly and there is no bad blood between the two, and wishes Griffin the best.
Doc Rivers was able to observe Milwaukee’s loss to the Cavaliers on Friday and talked eagerly about the talented roster and the challenges the team faces as they head into their last 37 games of the regular season.
“It’s going to be a challenge. It’s a challenge that I’m running towards. We’ve got to get organized quickly. Can’t try to do too much too soon. We’re in the middle of the season, so we’ve got to try to keep our rhythm.
“There are changes that we have to make, there’s no doubt about that. We’ll start working on it immediately.”
A big change Rivers talked about was the team culture. When he was in Philly and Los Angeles, he felt like he had to do something in order to change the culture of the team. However, Milwaukee already has a culture built, he just has to do his job and be the coach. He wants nothing more than to win, says he doesn’t really know if he has anything to prove besides the fact that he wants to win.
Milwaukee hasn’t won a championship since 2021, and Rivers hasn’t won with a team since the Celtics in 2008. There’s still a lot of basketball left before we even start talking about playoffs, but the Bucks have a legitimate shot at having a successful playoffs season and with a coach like Rivers who’s coached several Hall of Famers, all-stars, and all-NBA players, he’s able to recognize what needs to be done in order to keep Milwaukee on a positive trajectory to another championship title.
For More Wisconsin Sports…
Follow me on Twitter at @sarahspooon and follow us at @WiSportsHeroics. You can also reach out to Sarah via email at email@example.com. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in ALL of Wisconsin sports, click here! We cover the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Wisconsin Badgers, and High School sports!