Bucks Have Struggled Mightily Since Hiring Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers, Bucks, NBA
Feb 8, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers reacts to a call during the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks shocked a lot of people in the NBA when they announced a coaching change a few weeks ago. Coaching changes midseason happen sometimes, but rarely is it teams rolling in the fashion Milwaukee had been pulling the plug.

The Bucks were 30-13 under Adrian Griffin, chasing the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Interim head coach Joe Prunty was successful in his stint, going 2-1 before Doc Rivers took over as the permanent replacement for Griffin.

Rivers in the early going hasn’t gotten close to replicating that success. Like any person in a new work position, Rivers deserves some time to acclimate himself. Despite being a consultant for the team this season, taking over as the head coach is a much different role to be in.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Adrian Griffin, Doc Rivers, Milwaukee Bucks Updates

Playing without a full deck has also worked against Rivers. The Bucks have been dealing with injuries to key players as Khris Middleton, Damian Lillard and Brook Lopez have all missed games.

However, there is only so much benefit of the doubt Rivers can receive. In two of their five losses, the Bucks held double-digit leads during the game. Two of the losses came against teams with losing records in the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz.

Even with their lineups not at full strength, those are games the Bucks should have won. We have seen teams around the NBA dealing with injuries all season and pull out wins. Alas, their production on both sides of the ball has been poor.

According to Underdog NBA on X, the Bucks have an offensive rating of 113.0 under Rivers, which is 24th in the NBA. Their defensive rating of 119.8 is 21st, giving them a net rating of -6.8, which is 23rd. Under Griffin, Milwaukee was top-10 in offensive and net ratings.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Adrian Griffin, Doc Rivers, Milwaukee Bucks Updates

A big reason why Griffin was replaced by Rivers was because of how poorly the team performed defensively. The Bucks couldn’t be considered legitimate NBA title contenders with how they were performing on that end of the court, so a change was made.

Unfortunately, the one thing that was keeping them afloat at that time, the offense they ran under Griffin, is no longer buoying them. It is still early and the Bucks still have some time to figure things out under Rivers, but if they don’t figure things out soon, they are going to start falling in the Eastern Conference standings.

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