Giannis and Dame Reveal First Thoughts on Doc Rivers Hiring

Rivers Dame Giannis

Doc Rivers has taken over as head coach of the Bucks and the team’s two All-Star veterans in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard have spoken about the hiring publicly for the first time.

Rivers will be hit with the pressure of winning a championship straight away, as the team’s ageing core isn’t getting any younger and believe they have what it takes to win it all.

After the Bucks’ 141-117 win over the Pelicans, Giannis took his time to answer the first question he was asked about Doc, which centered around Rivers’ desire to embrace the massive expectations that will be placed upon him.

“It speaks volumes,” Antetokounmpo said, via The Athletic, after putting up 30 points, 12 rebounds and four assists against NOLA. “You could tell what he’s built of. He’s tough. It’s hard to take this job.”

The Bucks are clearly valuing experience over anything else, as the 24-year coach comes in to replace the first-year Adrian Griffin.

“We know that he’s played in tough games,” Antetokounmpo said. “We know that he’s played in two NBA Finals. Like, he’s been there before. We’ve been there one time. We want to go there again. And, sometimes, having people with experience next to you, it helps you.

“When it’s tough, when you face challenges, when things don’t go your way, having somebody that can be like, ‘Hey, I’ve been here before. This is what we’re going to do. This how we’re going to attack it. This is how we gotta stay together. Don’t worry about the expectation. We’ve gotta do this as a team.’ Somebody that can give you that guide, that lead, it’s always great to have him in your locker room. So, I’m excited that he understands that we’re trying to win a championship. I think everybody in this locker room understands that.”

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When asked about Milwaukee’s new hiring, Dame too pointed to Rivers’ extensive NBA experience and his ability to challenge senior players.

“We all know what he what he brings,” Lillard said. “We’ve heard his voice, him coaching other teams. We know he’s had success. He played in this league. He went to school in this city. …So, it’s nothing that he hasn’t experienced. And I just think his voice, how he’s able to to motivate teams, he’s a strong voice. And he’s going to demand more from our team. He’s not going to be afraid to challenge myself. He’s not going to be afraid to challenge Giannis. He’s not going to be afraid to challenge Brook (Lopez) and Khris. And all the way down the line. So, I think when you’re dealing with a team that’s full of vets and as talented as we are, I think that’s something that that you need, if you want to reach the level that we want to reach. And I think he’s the perfect person for it.”