Freeman Cebu Sports

Better coach, better direction?

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

Winning 70% of your games as a rookie NBA head coach is something that teams would want to achieve.  Most, if not all teams would stick to the one calling the shots especially if things had been going well.

But that’s not the case with the Milwaukee Bucks as last week, they gave coach Adrian Griffin the pink slip despite a 30-13 record, good for second place in the Eastern Conference.  Replacing him is Doc Rivers who brings to the Bucks a wealth of experience.

But what led to the firing of Griffin?  In a CBS Sports article written by Jack Maloney, he outlined several points why Griffin and the players, especially the stars, have contrasting views on his coaching style:

While talking to Giannis and Damian Lillard during a shootaround, lead assistant coach Jerry Stotts was yelled at by Griffin in front of the whole team when he asked for more time with the stars.  It was reported that they had a strained relationship, and that incident was the last straw which led Stotts to resign.

Milwaukee was blown away by Atlanta in their second game of the season.  Giannis headed to the whiteboard during media availability and began to diagram plays with assistant coach Josh Oppenheimer, openly showing distrust on Griffin’s system.

The first four games of the season were bad for the Bucks and the veterans intervened on how to do their defensive positions, veering away from Griffin’s style of play.   Griffin listened and it resulted in a win.

Giannis and Griffin argued at the scorer’s table when he was subbed out of the game during the third quarter in their first match of the season with Boston.  He checked back in afterwards, never returning to the bench.  The Bucks lost that game.

In their game versus Miami last November, Giannis overruled Griffin’s play involving Lillard and insisted on a play for Khris Middleton, where he scored on back-to-back possessions in the closing minutes of the game, which they won.

Travelling to Chicago after that close win over the Heat, the Bucks led by three points in the dying seconds of the game when Alex Caruso buried a game-tying 3 to send the game to overtime.  Milwaukee disintegrated in extra time.  The issue here is, they could have fouled Caruso but Griffin’s instruction was not to foul.

The In-Season Tournament was a semi-final meltdown for the Bucks when they were outscored by Indiana 15 to 7 in the final 3 minutes of the game.  Not only that, they made mistakes on both ends of the court, prompting Lillard to say that no one knew what was going on during those sequences.  Bobby Portis reportedly challenged Griffin and his teammates to do a better job for them to succeed.

Milwaukee started the new year with a 1-4 skid and Giannis ranted on everyone, himself included, saying they lack a sense of pride, questioning the team’s strategy.  He concluded his sermon with, “We have to be better, we have to play better, we have to defend better, we have to trust one another better.  We have to be coached better.”

Two weeks later, the Milwaukee Bucks found a better coach who had 13 seasons playing in the NBA and 24 seasons as head coach.

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