‣ Milwaukee’s general manager Jon Horst clarified that the decision to fire first-year coach Adrian Griffin was not influenced by the players but was due to the team’s urgency to win.
‣ Despite having a good record this season, the team’s defensive efficiency has fallen, which Horst believes could prevent them from winning the championship.
‣ Doc Rivers is expected to be the team’s next coach, and Horst expressed confidence that there is enough time for the team to adapt to the new leadership before the playoffs.
Bucks hired Doc Rivers but still have Mike Budenholzer AND Adrian Griffin on their payroll 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport)
The Milwaukee Bucks‘ general manager, Jon Horst, recently held a much-anticipated press conference. He aimed to clear the air about the dismissal of first-year coach Adrian Griffin and quash rumors that the players influenced the decision.
Horst explained that the team’s drive to win was the real reason behind the move. This might seem odd, given that the team is currently second in the Eastern Conference, with a 30-13 record after 43 matches in the 2023/24 NBA season. The press conference took place just before the Bucks’ 126-116 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
“This is not about players comments,” Horst stated emphatically. He went on to explain that it was his job and the organization’s responsibility to evaluate all areas of the team daily. If they felt they could get more out of the group, they would make changes, and that’s why they did it.
There’s been chatter about Doc Rivers being the team’s next coach. While many sources confirm this, Horst refrained from commenting until the deal was official. He did admit that the team’s dynamic had significantly changed since hiring Griffin in June, especially after acquiring superstar Damian Lillard.
“The dynamics and the things that changed after that I think created even more of an urgency,” Jon explained. He added that these were special opportunities and the talent became even more special. The commitment to the team became even more significant.
Horst believes that this team has the potential to win the championship. “I also would say that we believe that this is a good team right now. And with improvements, we have a chance to be great,” he expressed. Despite the Bucks becoming the second-best offensive team in the league this season, their defensive efficiency has slipped to 22nd worst, mainly due to trading out Jrue Holiday.
“Defensively, we have a talented group I think that can be better than what they’ve been so far,” Horst said. He went on to explain that their defensive struggles could potentially prevent them from winning the title this season.
Everything seemed to be going well in Milwaukee, except for one thing: the defense. Last season, they ranked among the top 5 in defensive efficiency. Horst now believes that if this downfall continues, they won’t contend for the championship.
“I know we’re going to be really good offensively, and we’ve got to figure out how to improve defensively, consistently. We’ve had points throughout the season where we’ve been very good defensively. We’ve had points where we’ve really struggled. So, trying to find a consistency and identity on that side is part of this,” the GM said.
With 38 matches left in the regular season, the Milwaukee executive is convinced that the change at the head coach’s helm needed to come right away. This would allow the new coach to develop a style before the playoffs start.
“I believe that there is enough time for them to find an identity, find a rhythm together and continue to grow,” Horst expressed. He added that while it may feel rushed, things in the NBA happen quickly all the time, and transition is a constant. He believes the team will adapt well.