The Milwaukee Bucks currently have a record of 30-13. This makes them tied 2nd in the NBA standings with the Timberwolves, and only trail the Celtics for the top spot. Normally, that'd be a team's dream, but Milwaukee is in championship or bust-mode, and they took it out on the coach. They got Giannis Antetokounmpo, an all-star teammate in the form of Damian Lillard, and the organization expects nothing but to be the best team in the league. Giannis was vocal about his uncertainty about staying in Milwaukee this offseason saying,
“I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing.”
He ended up signing a three-year extension after the team acquired Dame, so the pressure is on the organization to make these championship aspirations a reality. Their window is tight, and they don't have time to waste if things aren't going perfectly.
The main reason Griffin was fired is because of the drastic change of defense this year. They have gone from 4th ranked last year, to 22nd ranked this year. No matter how good their offense is, the defense will hold them back from winning the title. Brian Sampson of Forbes suggested earlier this month that Griffin's stubbornness to alter his defense has been an issue. Sampson claimed, "Instead of adapting his defensive strategies to his personnel, he's asked his personnel to adapt to his strategies. He wants his on-ball defenders guarding 40+ feet from the hoop and his off-ball guys hugging their man, preventing them from providing help when the inevitable drive to the hoop happens. It hasn't worked through the first 40 games, and there are few signs it will ever work." There were also locker room issues as Bobby Portis lashed out at Griffin after their loss to the Pacers during the In-Season-Tournament. They gave up 128 points in the loss, and Portis didn't hold back.
I agree that the Bucks must play better defense as a team, but it isn't all Griffin's fault. They lost two of their best defenders this offseason, Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen. Point guards are so dynamic in the modern game, that having a solid defender at the 1 is crucial nowadays. They traded defense for offense this offseason, and everybody knew, which is why I find this firing a little confusing. As of now, Joe Prunty will be the interim coach, but there are rumors that the Bucks are in talks with Doc Rivers now. Even then, is he going to make that much of an impact? He only has one championship and it was with a stacked, well-balanced Celtics team back in 2008. Doc has coached very talented teams and has underperformed time after time, so I guess we will see if he can overcome the odds this time if he eventually gets the job.
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