Former Raptors coach Adrian Griffin vindicated amid Doc Rivers' slump

Griffin looks like the better coach right now.

Sacramento Kings v Milwaukee Bucks
Sacramento Kings v Milwaukee Bucks / John Fisher/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Hiring former Toronto Raptors assistants from the Nick Nurse era seems like a bit of a grab bag. While Chris Finch has the Minnesota Timberwolves humming, Nate Bjorkgren was a disaster in his one season with the Indiana Pacers. Adrian Griffin was supposed to be the tiebreaker after being handed the Milwaukee Bucks job.

Unfortunately, fans still don't know how good of a coach Griffin truly is. While he was fired in the middle of his first season with the Bucks and oversaw a big defensive regression (coincidently after Jrue Holiday was traded for Damian Lillard), his 30-13 record gave him the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference at the time).

The Bucks thought that Doc Rivers, who has become synonymous with postseason failure after his glory days with the Celtics' Big Three in the late 2000s, would be the secret ingredient that gets them back on track. Instead, Rivers is 1-4 in his first five games, including blowing a huge second-quarter lead to the Utah Jazz and losing to the Phoenix Suns in primetime.

Griffin was seemingly made out to be a complete dullard who knew nothing about how to coach basketball and lead a team in Milwaukee. Rivers' early struggles and inability to fix the problems that got Griffin fired when he was sold as an instant quick fix only make the decision to fire him even weirder.

Ex-Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin looks better after Doc Rivers struggles

While maintaining a great working relationship with your star players is integral to success in the NBA, and Griffin may not have seen eye to eye on everything with Giannis Antetokounmpo, it may have been a bit too hasty to blow everything up after 43 games when the team was winning.

There are differences between Griffin and David Blatt, who was fired as coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers after going 30-11 with LeBron James before Ty Lue led them to a title. Not only was Blatt in his second season, but the fact Griffin had been an assistant in the NBA for 16 straight years gives him a stronger domestic resume.

Griffin can likely rest assured that he will get another coaching job in the league relatively soon, be it as a top assistant or a head coach for a team with less of a mandate to win a championship immediately. As the Rivers experiment goes sideways, Milwaukee may have made a big mistake in parting ways with Nurse's top assistant.

manual