Bucks Part Ways with Head Coach Despite Second Place Finish in NBA: Blame on Unhappiness from Giannis and Dame Lillard?

Looking at the Milwaukee Bucks’ performance up to now, the team that won the 2021 NBA championship has 30 wins in 43 matches played.

This nearly 70% win rate helps the Bucks rank second in the East and have the second best win-loss record in the entire NBA. They ranked above more than 26 teams and only below the Boston Celtics (record 34-10).

This is an extremely impressive start for Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates, especially after the blockbuster contract that brought Damian Lillard back to the “deer herd”.

The combination of Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo brings prosperity to the Milwaukee Bucks with the team’s win rate up to 70%

As sublime as it was, a lightning bolt of information appeared on January 24, 2024 when the Milwaukee Bucks decided to fire coach Adrian Griffin, “going their separate ways” with the 50-year-old captain.

Assistant Joe Prunty will be the Bucks’ interim coach while the team searches for a new captain. According to many reputable journalists, the number 1 candidate for the hot seat in Milwaukee is Mr. Doc Rivers, former coach of the LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers.

Mr. Adrian Griffin was fired by the Milwaukee Bucks despite having the second best record in the entire NBA

Despite an impressive first half of the Regular Season with a win rate of nearly 70%, Milwaukee Bucks did not satisfy a portion of fans because of their defense.

The team’s Defensive Rating index, from 4th in the entire NBA last season, has now fallen to 22nd out of 30 teams. The last straw most likely came in two recent matches against the Detroit Pistons, where the Bucks let the bottom team score 113 and 135 points respectively.

The cohesive defense, extremely good coverage and discipline that were the strengths of the Milwaukee Bucks in previous seasons are no longer effective.

In addition to the team’s plummeting defensive index, some sideline information said that Mr. Griffin is not popular with the stars in Milwaukee, specifically Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

The prestigious website The Athletic quoted a source from the team that sometimes Lillard was forced to throw difficultly, other times he could not find a common voice with the coach in arranging the number of playing minutes or deploying the attack.

Although still showing patience with coach Adrian Griffin’s decisions, Damian Lillard showed signs of dissatisfaction with the Milwaukee captain’s way of using people.

Mr. Adrian Griffin signed a multi-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks in the summer of 2023, succeeding long-time head coach Mike Budenholzer (fired after last season).

A few months after recommending Mr. Griffin to the captain’s position, the Bucks exploded a transfer blockbuster and successfully recruited Damian Lillard. This immediately put Milwaukee at the top of the group of competing teams, while also putting pressure on the new coach to win the championship.

Before coming to the Bucks last summer, Adrian Griffin had never been a head coach in the NBA. He has spent the past 16 years as an assistant coach for many teams, including the last 5 years (2018-2023) working at the Toronto Raptors.

This is the first time Mr. Adrian Griffin has been a head coach after 16 years as an assistant for many different clubs

Firing a coach despite a good Regular Season performance is no longer a new thing for Milwaukee Bucks. Adrian Griffin’s predecessor, Mike Budenholzer, faced a similar situation.

In 5 seasons (from 2018-19 to 2022-23), Milwaukee Bucks under Mr. Budenholzer is the team with the most wins in the entire NBA. But the last straw was in the 2023 Playoffs when Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates were eliminated in the first round, leading to Mr. Budenholzer’s dismissal.

It’s very possible that the fear of repeating a bad Playoffs period has caused the Milwaukee Bucks leadership to “kill the general” early, avoiding letting things go until the end of the season before taking action like before.

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