Why did the Bucks hire Doc Rivers? Experience, championship pedigree lead to Milwaukee’s quick decision


Less than 24 hours after dismissing their previous head coach, the Bucks seem to have their new lead man.

Milwaukee is reportedly finalizing an agreement to make Doc Rivers the team’s next head coach, according to several reports. Rivers returns to the sideline after a brief stint as an analyst on ESPN’s lead NBA broadcast crew.

As the timing of the reports would indicate, the Bucks moved quickly to nab Rivers, who last coached the 76ers during the 2022-23 season. He now is set to take over a Bucks team that has a 30-13 record through 43 games this season.

Here’s more on Milwaukee’s decision to hire Rivers.

MORE: Why Bucks fired coach Adrian Griffin after 43 games

Why did the Bucks hire Doc Rivers?

Simply put, Rivers stood out above other coaching candidates because of his coaching experience and history as a winner.

In the immediate aftermath of the firing of Adrian Griffin, TNT’s Chris Haynes reported that the Bucks would “strongly consider” Rivers as a midseason replacement. Moments later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added that Milwaukee’s search would prioritize “accomplished and available veteran head coaches.”

With Griffin’s firing coming midway through the season, the pool of available head coaches who checked the boxes of being accomplished veterans was extremely small.

Rivers, who took his first head coaching job in 1999, has been a head coach on an NBA sideline for at least a portion of every NBA season since. Over 24 seasons as a head coach, he has earned Coach of the Year honors, won an NBA title in 2008, an Eastern Conference Championship in 2010 and was named as one of the top 15 head coaches in NBA history.

As Wojnarowski noted during an appearance on SportsCenter, Rivers rose to the top of the list of candidates given his pedigree as a championship coach and familiarity with contending teams in the Eastern Conference.

In three seasons as the 76ers head coach, Rivers led the team to a 154-82 record but they lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals each year. Now, Rivers can use what he’s learned about the Eastern Conference landscape in recent seasons to help lead Milwaukee back to an NBA title, which it won in 2021.

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