MILWAUKEE — Over halfway through the season, the Milwaukee Bucks have chosen former Philadelphia 76er’s coach Doc Rivers to lead the team. Rivers brings 24 seasons of experience, with 19 of those seasons including playoff runs, two NBA Finals appearances, and one championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
Rivers sat next to Bucks General Manager Jon Horst and explained what made him want to start coaching again: “I was bored.”
“I wasn’t going to just take a job, I’ve been contacted several times this season and I would not even take the call,” Rivers said on his decision to coach in Milwaukee. “I was dead serious that if the right opportunity opened, I would listen. And if not, that would have been fine.”
Rivers highlighted power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and point guard Damian Lillard as reasons he wanted to be a part of the organization. This season, Antetokounmpo is averaging 31 points per game and a 55.3% field goal percentage. He holds the record for most points scored–64 in a single game–by a Bucks player. He is one of five players in NBA history to score over 50 points in one game, with Damian Lillard being anoterh one.
Rivers says he hopes to unlock the full potential of those two, as well as the entire team. “The key is to get them both playing at their ultimate level…. not just offensively but defensively,” Rivers said. “I was in the facility yesterday. They are all willing. They just need to figure out how.”
Rivers acknowledged the 2023-34 season has had its highs and lows. According to ESPN, the Bucks were ranked 4th in the NBA in defense efficiency for the 2022-2023 season. This season they are ranked 22nd. The Bucks played the Detroit Pistons, ranked at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, twice in one weekend and gave up 248 total points.
“It’s a challenge that I’m running towards,” Rivers said. “[I] can’t do too much too soon. We’re in the middle of a season so we got to try to keep our rhythm. There are changes that we have to make. No doubt about that.”
Rivers will make his coaching debut with the Bucks against the defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets on Monday, January 29th.
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