Doc Rivers Bucks

  • On Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach Adrian Griffin was fired after a 30-13 start to the season.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks’ 2023-24 NBA Championship odds were not impacted by the head coaching change.
  • Hours after Griffin was fired, the Bucks reportedly reached an agreement with Doc Rivers, according to CNN Sports.

Adrian Griffin’s tenure as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks has come to an abrupt ending after he was unexpectedly fired Wednesday. Following less than a year and just 43 games into his stint as head coach, the Bucks decided it was time to move on.

Per CNN Sports, former LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers accepted the Bucks’ offer to become the organization’s next head coach. The reported move, which has not been confirmed by team officials yet, didn’t have an immediate impact on the Bucks’ 2023-24 NBA Championship odds.

At +500, the Bucks had the third-best odds to win the NBA title before Griffin was fired. After hiring Rivers, their championship odds did not move up or down. The Bucks remain at +500, with the third-best 2023-24 NBA Championship odds.

Despite what is seemingly an upgrade at head coach, the Boston Celtics (+300) and Denver Nuggets (+425) still held strong ahead of the Bucks at online betting sites.

Bucks’ Defense Falters Under Griffin’s System

There were plenty of question marks regarding why Griffin was fired after a 30-13 start to the season. At 17 games above .500, the Bucks had the second-best record in the NBA. They are 3.5 games behind the Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

So, what was behind Griffin’s dismissal? What is it because Giannis Antetokounmpo demanded a coaching change? Did Griffin do something behind the scenes that went against team policy?

The most likely reason is simple to quantify: the Bucks’ defense witnessed considerable regression with Griffin at the helm. Currently, the Bucks are 22nd in the NBA with a defensive efficiency rating of 1.137.

They have conceded 120.5 points per game for the 25th-worst mark in the NBA. Last season, the Bucks yielded 113.9 points per game in Mike Budenholzer’s final year with the team.

While trading Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen was a step back for the defense, Griffin’s defensive system wasn’t clicking with this group.


Locker Room Turns On Griffin

Also, a lack of fluidity on offense played a role in Griffin’s removal as head coach, according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.

“Players privately complained about their roles, touches, chemistry and constantly questioned the schemes on both sides of the ball,” Haynes said. “After their loss to the Indiana Pacers in the In-Season Tournament, Griffin called a meeting with Antetokounmpo, Lillard, Middleton, and Lopez, sources say.”

With that in mind, it most certainly appears that Griffin was losing control of the locker room and a change was needed before the season progressed any longer. The front office did not want the situation to degrade further into the most important stretch of the regular season and into the NBA Playoffs.

The Bucks have been good, but greatness has to be the only acceptable result for a team of this caliber. Despite only being 3.5 games out of first place in the NBA standings, there were higher expectations for a roster featuring Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

If the Bucks can’t get it together with Rivers as head coach, then won’t have many excuses to lean on, though. At just 16-26-1 against the spread (ATS), and a cover rate of 38.1 percent, the Bucks have been one of the worst bets in the NBA in 2023-24.

Antetokounmpo Reportedly Didn’t Want Bucks To Hire Nick Nurse

In the offseason, the Bucks were reportedly eyeing current Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach Nick Nurse. However, per Marc Stein, Antetounmpo was not interested in the team hiring the former Raptors’ bench boss.

“League sources say now that the desire to play for Griffin is better described as a determination to play for someone other than Nick Nurse. Nurse was among the candidates that the Bucks had high on their list after a five-game drubbing by No. 8-seeded Miami in the first round of last season’s playoffs, which led to Budenholzer’s ouster after five seasons in charge and, of course, Milwaukee’s first championship since 1971. But sources say that Antetokounmpo wanted the Bucks to go in a different direction and thus chose to champion Griffin.”

In May 2023, Rivers was fired after serving as head coach of the 76ers for three seasons. Rivers failed to get the 76ers past the second round of the postseason in three straight years. Rivers accepted a job as an NBA broadcaster for ESPN after failing to find a new head coaching job.

If the reports from CNN Sports are true, Rivers will concede his television gig and replace Griffin as head coach of the Bucks. For the moment, assistant Joe Prunty is the interim head coach.

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Kyle Eve
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Kyle Eve is a seasoned pro of The Sports Geek. Since joining the team in 2012, Kyle, has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the Super Bowl and World Series to March Madness, the NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, and many more, Kyle has provided reliable analysis for millions of readers. After dedicating himself to hockey and football in high school, Kyle placed his first sports bet on his 18th birthday. Since then, he has spent his entire adult life devoting himself to becoming the best sports bettor and casino gambler possible. Kyle is from Windsor, ON, Canada

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