The Toronto Raptors may be on the verge of losing both their former head coach in Nick Nurse and their top assistant from the last few years. If the Raptors hire from outside the system, Adrian Griffin might need to move on and find another team where he can ply his trade.
While Griffin is considered one of the favorites to replace Nurse and has interviewed for the position. It seems unlikely that he will stay with the Raptors as the top assistant for whomever they hire. Teams around the league are well aware of Griffin’s high coaching acumen.
Griffin interviewed for the vacant Jazz job last season, and the Pistons showed a degree of interest in him before whittling their list down. The Milwaukee Bucks have an opening and a roster ready to compete right now, and they think Griffin might be the guy to get them back on track.
The Bucks, fresh off their firing of potential Raptors coach Mike Budenholzer, are interviewing Griffin for their coaching vacancy. Hiring Griffin, the pupil, when the teacher in Nurse is still available might strike some as an odd move, but Milwaukee might choose to move forward with someone that isn’t fresh off coaching a disappointing lottery team.
Bucks interviewing Raptors coach Adrian Griffin.
Griffin has been an assistant for almost 15 consecutive seasons following his retirement as a player, so he has more than paid his dues in the NBA. If the Raptors don’t hire him, a team like Milwaukee will likely have no qualms about handing him such an important position.
While Nurse is the architect of the system Griffin has spent the last few years in, his abrasive personality and heavy minutes workloads can wear thin on a team over an extended period of time. Griffin’s style might be a bit more flexible than that.
Rather than taking over a team in rebuild mode, Griffin’s first NBA job will be coaching Giannis Antetokounmpo and a Bucks team that has the potential to compete for a championship right out of the gate. The pressure will be there, but so will the victories.
Griffin might not be the right coach for the Raptors right now, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t the right coach for another needy team that is eyeing a chance to get back into the title race as soon as possible. With some good fortune, Griffin might end up being a better coach than his mentor, Nurse.