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Report: Bucks Select Three Finalists For Head Coach

Kenny Atkinson, Adrian Griffin, and Nick Nurse are the names

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NBA: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After we heard this weekend that the Bucks were moving forward with some of their many candidates for the job, a Woj-bomb dropped mere minutes ago with more concrete information about what that means:

This should come as welcome news to a segment of the fanbase who have been beating the Nurse drum for weeks now. Though the former Raptors’ head coach was the last reported candidate from the initial list of thirteen, it seems like the Bucks have some urgency to move forward with him based on this follow-up from Woj:

Both those teams would gain a more palpable upgrade from their previous bench bosses to Nurse than the Bucks would, where it’s reasonable to think Bud to Nurse is more of a lateral move (some would even say a downgrade, but I digress). Regardless, the Bucks are further along in their searches than Philly and Phoenix, and though Nurse has reportedly met with each team, this currently appears to be the furthest stage he’s gotten to with any of them.

Moving to the other candidates, Griffin still ostensibly remains under consideration by both his current employer and Detroit. He also interviewed with Houston but didn’t land the gig. The fifteen-year assistant began his coaching career with Milwaukee way back in 2008 on Scott Skiles’ staff. His name has popped up in numerous head coaching searches in recent years.

Atkinson is best known for nearly four years helming Brooklyn, leading them from cellar-dwellers without draft assets to a plucky low-seeded playoff team. Once that organization pivoted to star-driven, win-now mode, he resigned in the face of his coaching being questioned by the team’s new stars (or maybe just Kyrie Irving), despite them barely even touching the court. After a year on the Clippers’ bench, he’s spent the last two years on Steve Kerr’s staff in Golden State. While in the midst of winning a title with the Dubs last year, Charlotte offered him their vacant head coaching job, but he ended up turning it down after initially accepting it, albeit informally.

Notably, in our recent polls about our reader’s preferences, Atkinson finished a distant fourth behind an expanded list of candidates (behind Nurse, Tyronn Lue, and Becky Hammon—the latter two didn’t even interview) and is currently third in our poll of the twelve initial names under consideration:


Of the reported candidates, who do you want the Bucks to hire as their next head coach?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Kenny Atkinson
    (267 votes)
  • 0%
    Joseph Blair
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    James Borrego
    (10 votes)
  • 2%
    Scott Brooks
    (36 votes)
  • 3%
    Adrian Griffin
    (47 votes)
  • 6%
    Mark Jackson
    (92 votes)
  • 6%
    Charles Lee
    (92 votes)
  • 38%
    Nick Nurse
    (564 votes)
  • 20%
    Chris Quinn
    (302 votes)
  • 0%
    Will Weaver
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    Frank Vogel
    (46 votes)
  • 0%
    Kevin Young
    (5 votes)
1472 votes total Vote Now

Nurse was third in that first poll with 15% of the vote, trailing Lue and Hammon by 74 and 36 votes, respectively. As you can see, he leads the field with a plurality of votes. Heat assistant Chris Quinn also has plenty of fans, but it appears for now that he didn’t advance. Griffin doesn’t appear to be a popular choice among our readers at all. He received a mere three of the over 1300 votes cast in the initial survey, and currently has two of nearly 800 in our second one.

It seems like a hiring could come before we know it, perhaps even this week. As always, we’ll keep you up to date with the latest.