The Toronto Raptors have seen many of their top assistants move on to greener pastures in the last few years. While Jama Mahlalela and Patrick Mutombo moved from the G League to Golden State and Phoenix, Chris Finch turned the Minnesota Timberwolves into a playoff team. Despite that, Adrian Griffin remains on the bench.
Griffin has more than enough experience when it comes to building a resume. After retiring as a player, Griffin immediately made the move to coaching. Considering that Nick Nurse allowed Griffin to coach during his season finale, the former power forward is clearly the team’s top assistant.
There were very few coaching changes this offseason, as only four teams made new hires. One of them was due to a resignation rather than a firing. Even with that, the fact Griffin was passed over once again is a bit surprising considering how often Toronto assistants get poached.
These three teams might look back on the 2022 offseason with a tinge of regret for not hiring Griffin. He made his rounds on the interview circuit, but his experience and coaching acumen apparently didn’t impress as much as some out-of-the-blue youngsters or rehired retreads.
3 teams who whiffed on Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin
3. Utah Jazz
Even though the Jazz interviewed Griffin, former Celtics mastermind Danny Ainge took one of Brad Stevens’ best right hand men away from him and gave Will Hardy a five-year contract. While Utah could be in for a lean 2022 season after trading Rudy Gobert, Griffin may have been the wiser choice.
Toronto’s player development culture doesn’t end once the players leave Raptors 905. Griffin’s ability to turn big men and guards alike into contributors should be coveted by a team looking toward the future. Giving Hardy this job could be a case of too much, too fast.
Toronto Raptors: Adrian Griffin has more experience than Will Hardy
Hardy is just 34 years old, which means that he’ll be tasked with both making Donovan Mitchell into an All-Star once again and getting the most out of Utah youngsters. Utah would do well to get someone with Griffin’s sagely reservoir of advice over Hardy’s whiz kid mentality.
The Jazz might be angling toward a rebuild, but a team with Mitchell at the helm is at least going to be a viable play-in contender. Griffin has seen it all in the pros, and Utah may have serious buyer’s remorse if the job overwhelms the former Gregg Popovich disciple.