Report: Milwaukee Bucks players ‘completely tuned out’ Adrian Griffin

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks players reportedly had “completely tuned out” Adrian Griffin before the head coach was fired on Tuesday.

“This Bucks team had completely tuned out Adrian Griffin, did not have the confidence in him as head coach to make the right adjustments,” NBA insider Shams Charania said. “And the Bucks — simply from what I’m told — lost faith that Adrian Griffin would be that coach, the best coach.

“And the Bucks did not want to waste a season of Damian Lillard’s prime, Giannis’ [Antetokounmpo] prime. They wanted to go and compete. And they are going to go and hire a coach that they feel will allow them to win a championship or compete for a championship and put them in the best position. But Bucks high-level officials have been discussing, pondering, internally meeting about getting off and firing of Adrian Griffin and when that would come.”

The Bucks decided to part ways with the first-year head coach while sporting a 30-13 record that is good enough for second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Boston Celtics.

Milwaukee has won five of its past six games, but the loss during that stretch was by 40 points to the Cleveland Cavaliers this past Wednesday. The Bucks play the Cavaliers again on Wednesday and Friday.

Joe Prunty – who was an assistant coach under Griffin – will serve as the interim head coach while the Bucks search for an accomplished and veteran head coach to take over.

Doc Rivers reportedly will be a top target for the job. The current ESPN analyst was fired as head coach by the Philadelphia 76ers after last season. He won the NBA championship as head coach of the Boston Celtics in 2008 and also led them to the 2010 NBA Finals.

Griffin was hired as head coach of the Bucks prior to this season after they fired Mike Budenholzer. Milwaukee won the 2021 NBA championship under Budenholzer but has not been back to the conference finals in either of the past two campaigns. As the top seed in the East last season, the Bucks were upset in the first round by the Miami Heat.

After acquiring Lillard in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers this past offseason, the Bucks were thought to again be among the top contenders for the championship. But despite their strong record and solid position in the standings, the Bucks decided to make a change to have a better chance to reach that goal.

Griffin is a former NBA player who was hired as head coach after serving 16 seasons as an assistant coach in the league, most recently for the Toronto Raptors. He was on their staff when they won the 2019 NBA championship.

The move invokes memories of the Cavaliers firing David Blatt just 41 games into the 2015-16 NBA campaign and then ultimately winning the championship that season. The Bucks can only hope that they experience similar results.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.