The Bucks Fired Adrian Griffin 43 Games Into His First Season, With Doc Rivers A Favorite To Take Over

The Milwaukee Bucks are 30-13 this season, good for second in the Eastern Conference, but despite a strong record there are some concerns about their ability to compete for a title given how poorly they’ve played on the defensive end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has called the team out previously for their effort and the coaching staff for not having a coherent scheme. Early in the season they tried having Brook Lopez play at the level rather than playing drop to disastrous results, only to revert to his comfortable coverage after players asked for the change. All of that serves as the backdrop for a sudden coaching change in mid-January for the Bucks, as Adrian Griffin is out as head coach in Milwaukee after just 43 games on the job, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania.

Griffin was a top assistant in Toronto and this firing suggests that the issues go beyond just a poor defensive scheme/buy-in from the Bucks. You don’t fire a coach midway through his first season unless there’s something more going on behind the scenes — and you also don’t do this without the blessing of your stars. Even before the season began there was a hint at things not being as they should with the new staff in Milwaukee, when Terry Stotts abruptly left the team after they traded for Damian Lillard, who enjoyed most of his success in Portland playing for Stotts.

As for who will replace Griffin, Shams and Woj immediately pointed to Doc Rivers, who has been part of ESPN’s top broadcast team this season after being let go by Philly, as a leading candidate for the job.

We’ll see if Rivers does indeed become the Bucks new head coach or if Milwaukee goes in a different direction, but it’s a huge shakeup on the bench for one of the East’s top contenders.