The Milwaukee Bucks have officially hired Doc Rivers as the franchise’s next head coach, according to Chris Haynes. The Bucks parted ways with Adrian Griffin Tuesday afternoon after 43 games at the helm, a sign the team was feeling its 30-13 record was more of a mirage. Milwaukee engaged in conversations with Rivers late Tuesday evening according to Adrian Wojnarowski, as he was the top candidate on the board.
Rivers is a veteran coach who most recently led the Philadelphia 76ers. He was commentating for ESPN this season but clearly the desire to coach is still in him and he took this job with the chance to contend for a championship. Rivers won the NBA Finals with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and made the Finals again in 2010, but fell to the Lakers in seven games. He has made the playoffs on 19 occasions in his career with four different franchises, but has not made it past the conference semifinal round since 2011-12.
We’ll see if Rivers can connect better with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, who were clearly unhappy with the on-court feel of the pairing. Milwaukee’s defense, which was supposed to be Griffin’s speciality, has slipped tremendously. Rivers has overseen great defenses in his career but that comes with the trade-off that he hasn’t achieved a title in more than 15 years. The Bucks are making a calculated gamble Rivers can deliver a ring with this team but if he doesn’t, they might be willing to make another move in the offseason.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bucks are +475 to win the NBA title.