Who is Doc Rivers, Milwaukee Bucks’ new coach?

Rivers, NBA head coach for 24 years, was previously appointed as informal consultant to Griffin by Bucks

Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers points against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in game six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2023 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 11, 2023. — AFP
Head Coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers points against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in game six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2023 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 11, 2023. — AFP 

Doc Rivers, a National Basketball Association (NBA) veteran, has accepted an offer from the Milwaukee Bucks to be the team’s next coach after its former coach Adrian Griffin was sacked on Tuesday.

The Bucks fired first-year head coach Griffin after 43 games, saying they were “working immediately” to hire their next head coach. Griffin had been with the team since June 2023, CNN reported.

Bucks General Manager Jon Horst said in a statement that Griffin’s firing was a “difficult decision to make during the season,” despite having one of the league’s top records.

Rivers, an ESPN analyst, had been in discussions about the franchise’s coaching job, ESPN reported citing unnamed sources.

Before being an analyst for ESPN, Rivers coached the 76ers for three seasons before the team announced they were parting ways with him last May following three Eastern Conference Semifinals losses.

At the time, Sixers President of Basketball Operations described Rivers as “one of the most successful coaches in NBA history.”

Rivers, a 24-year NBA head coach, was also appointed as an informal consultant to Griffin by the Bucks.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal said he is “happy for Doc”.

“He does have championship experience. He does have experience with dealing with large-name individuals, superstars,” O’Neal said. “For so long, he’s just been surviving off that one championship so I would like to see him get another one.”

Last year, Rivers revealed he begins each coaching season by telling his players, “I am human and I’m going to do my best, but I’m going to make some mistakes here.”

During an interview with CNN, he said: “I thought you just coached basketball. And then I realized, no, you coach life, and that allows you to play better basketball.”

“You have to take a step out. You have to risk. You have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to give yourself to the team,” he said.

The Bucks are currently 30-13 and have the best winning percentage for a team that fired its head coach since 2015-16. However, they have struggled on defence, dropping from fourth last season to 22nd this year.

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