New Coach Adrian Griffin: Bucks Intend to Embrace High Expectations

An opportunity to coach a team such as the Bucks? Adrian Griffin knows it’s a basketball blessing.Adrian Griffin

“Let’s be real,” Griffin told reporters at his introductory news conference. “What first-time head coach gets to coach the Milwaukee Bucks, with all the special talent on this team? I’m extremely humbled.”

Griffin speaks the truth about the talent, and it starts with forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, a former back-to-back NBA MVP who’s in the running for the award each season. The Bucks won it all in 2021, then finished with the league’s best record this year.

But a first-round playoff exit cost former coach Mike Budenholzer his job. Milwaukee went with Griffin, a former player who has been an assistant for 15 years, including the last five under Nick Nurse with the Raptors.

Griffin has been a candidate in other spots through the years, but could never land the gig — until now. Milwaukee decided it was his time.

And GM Jon Horst suggested he’s not worried about Griffin’s lack of head-coaching experience. 

“(Bucks assistant GM) Milt Newton said throughout this process after we met with Adrian, ‘Adrian’s a head coach. He just hasn’t gotten the opportunity yet,'” Horst said.

Also, it’s not like there will be no experience on the sideline. Griffin has already added former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts to the staff of assistants. Stotts served as head coach of the Bucks from 2005-07.

“To get a guy like Terry is a home run,” Griffin said. “He brings unbelievable experience.”

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