Did you pay attention to Doc Rivers’ introductory press conference Saturday morning?
Speaking to the assembled media at Fiserv Forum, Rivers said, “I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody” when referencing the uniqueness of the situation with the Bucks in Milwaukee.
Coming from one of the most experienced NBA Head Coaches on Earth, who is about to inherit a first place team led by future hall of famers, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, Rivers’ comments were eye-popping and reflective of how challenging a situation he is about to step into.
Rivers has an NBA title on his resume that includes 25-years of head coaching experience in the association. In 2022, the NBA recognized Rivers as one of the 15 greatest coaches in league history.
But for all of his accomplishments and accolades, Rivers has never done this. Nor has anyone for that matter.
Find me a time in NBA history when a complete outsider was brought in halfway through the season to take the reins of a first-place team with legitimate championship aspirations.
Now imagine anyone other than Rivers trying to make this work. As I’ve stated before, there is no better available option on the planet to coach this Milwaukee Bucks team than Rivers.
For Rivers, the next 36 games will be a playoff optimization lab designed to successfully integrate schemes, rotations and philosophies. There is no mid-season training camp. Look at the schedule…you can count the number of real practice sessions before the end of the regular season on one hand.
It’s not critical all aspects of the team are dialed in and clicking in February, but they must be by April.