The Milwaukee Bucks have hired Adrian Griffin as the organization’s 17th head coach. After officially being introduced earlier this week, Griffin has gone about the process of filling out his coaching staff. He already has snagged former Bucks interim head coach Joe Prunty and former head coach Terry Stotts. Earlier today, Eric Nehm of The Athletic reported on Twitter that the Bucks have also added Nate Mitchell and DJ Bakker to Griffin’s staff. Additionally, Josh Oppenheimer, who Giannis Antetokounmpo is fond of working with, is being retained.
The Bucks are adding Nate Mitchell and DJ Bakker to Adrian Griffin’s coaching staff for next season and retaining assistant coach Josh Oppenheimer, per a league source.
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) June 9, 2023
Who Is Milwaukee Bucks Assistant Coach Nate Mitchell?
Nate Mitchell is a former assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors. He and Griffin were both assistants under Nick Nurse. So why did Griffin bring his fellow assistant with him to Milwaukee? In short, there is no better basketball coaching mind in Canada than that of Mitchell. According to an article by Doug Smith of The Toronto Star:
“For years the current Raptors assistant has worked every summer with the elite of the elite from Canada. RJ Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Andrew Nembhard, just about anybody who is somebody relies on Mitchell to help them improve.
“The thing that makes Mitchell unique — and what will surely allow his career to blossom further — is that he hasn’t been pigeonholed as solely a “workout guy” in the high level basketball hierarchy.
“He’s certainly capable of teaching and improving skills but in the context of the overall game. He understands tactics and training regimens equally, a fact not lost on those who’ve watched him grow professionally.”
The Bucks’ biggest flaw under Mike Budenholzer was their inability to develop young talent. Griffin is known for being adept at this, and he just brought the best developer in Canada with him.
Who Is Milwaukee Bucks Assistant Coach DJ Bakker?
Again, Griffin has brought in one of the best coaches when it comes to developing young players. DJ Bakker spent three years as an assistant and player development coach with Dwayne Casey in Detroit. In 2021, he became the first head coach of the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ G League affiliate.
Bakker has also had some of the best training one could ask for in a developmental coach. According to the G League’s website:
“He got his start in Chicago working in the Bulls’ video department. Bakker has also worked as a Regional Advanced Scout for the Orlando Magic and a Player Development Assistant for the Dallas Mavericks. Prior to his time in the NBA, Bakker served as a Player Development Coach for Tim Grover, the well-known basketball trainer who previously worked with Michael Jordan, Dwyane Wade, and other high-level NBA stars.”
This hire really sounds like a home run for Griffin.
Why Did the Bucks Retain Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Favorite Shooting Coach, Josh Oppenheimer?
Well, this question sort of answers itself, doesn’t it? Giannis enjoys working with Oppenheimer so much that he had the Greek National Team hire him last summer so that they could continue to work together while Giannis trained for the EuroBasket competition.