BREAKING: Doc Rivers is finalizing an agreement to become the next coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, sources tell ESPN. The Bucks are getting the coach they targeted over the past 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/SP16vhYJDP— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 24, 2024
Rivers takes over after Griffin led the Bucks to a 30-13 record, a half game ahead of the Sixers for the second spot in the East. While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard have starred for the second-highest rated offense in the NBA, the Bucks’ defense has fallen off a cliff following the departures of All-Defensive Team pick Jrue Holiday and former head coach Mike Budenholzer. Milwaukee finished last season as the fourth-rated defense in the league. They’re currently 21st.
There was also much reported drama behind the scenes. Per Marc Stein, Antetokounmpo preferred Griffin to Nick Nurse, who ultimately became the Sixers’ head coach (thanks, Giannis), but Giannis was not happy with the directions the team was going. According to a pretty scathing report from The Athletic, there was tension in the Bucks’ locker room and questions about Griffin’s abilities as a head coach. Rivers was already acting as a consultant for Milwaukee and Griffin ... now, he takes the job over.
Yeah, sounds totally legit.
In three seasons with the Sixers, Rivers compiled a 356-208 record in the regular season. As you’re all painfully aware, Rivers led the team to the second round of the playoffs in all three seasons, but failed to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. After the Sixers’ collapse against the Bostons Celtics last season, Daryl Morey and company made the decision to move on from Rivers.
Doc had been working as a color commentator for ESPN’s main crew alongside Mike Breen and Doris Burke. Unfortunately, we never got to hear him commentate on any games involving the Sixers or James Harden and the Clippers.