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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Doc Rivers to coach All-Star game

Rivers takes over as the coach in Milwaukee where UNI alumni AJ Green calls home.

As the NBA season draws closer to the All-Star Break, the respective coaches for the 2024 All-Star Game were chosen. The Western Conference All-Star coach will be Chris Finch, and rightfully so, as he has steered the Minnesota Timberwolves to the number one seed in the West. The Eastern Conference All-Star coach will be Doc Rivers … who has coached the Milwaukee Bucks for all of three games. 

If this sounds a little ludacris you would be correct, even Rivers himself called the news “ridiculously bad.” So why does Rivers get the nod over the other coaches in the East? Since arriving the Bucks have gone 1-3, and are still figuring out the adjustments halfway through the season. Despite that, their overall record sits at 33-17, second in the Eastern Conference. 

That second overall seed is the key reason why  Rivers was named coach for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. The number one team in the East is currently the Boston Celtics, who held the number one spot at the same time last year. According to the All-Star Game rules the Celtics cannot coach back-to-back seasons in the All-Star Game, and therefore it was decided that it would go to the coach on the second best team in the conference. 

With the announcement, Rivers will be coaching in his fourth All-Star Game, having done so in 2008, 2011 and 2021. 

Rivers announced shortly after the news that he would give his All-Star Game check and ring to former Bucks coach Adrian Griffin, who was fired midway through the season despite their strong start. 

“Maybe I’ll send my staff and go on vacation,” Rivers joked. 

Rivers further extended his gesture towards Griffin’s staff to be a part of the All-Star Game instead of the current assistants on Milwaukee’s staff. 

When the Bucks first hired Rivers for the head coaching position, he expressed his thoughts about the situation. “I’ve never done this. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, this is going to be a challenge”, said Rivers. An odd quote coming from someone who was voted as a top 15 coach of all time in the NBA, but his statement holds some truth to it as well. 

This is the first time in his coaching career that he is taking over a team part way through the season. His task is simple, championship or bust, and he doesn’t have the same luxury as in the past to ease into the season. It’s now or never for Rivers and the Bucks. 

Following a loss to the Jazz, Rivers had a lot of praise for UNI’s own AJ Green, who put up 10 points and five rebounds during the game. 

“They tried to target him, and he held his own defensively. AJ’s showing me that he’s a tough kid like he’s not just going to wilt, and I like that,” said Rivers. 

He continued saying that when given the opportunity he will coach Green in the same manner as he once coached Jamal Crawford, a three-time, sixth-man of the year award winner. Giving Green freedom on the offensive end to let his game shine. 

Be on the prowl for more updates on Green and the Bucks as the season goes on, as Milwaukee keeps their sights on a championship.

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