4. Adrian Griffin
Adrian Griffin played nine seasons in the NBA, and played for many teams, including the Houston Rockets, who were coached by Jeff Van Gundy during the 2003-04 season in which he was on the Rockets. Griffin also played for the Dallas Mavericks, where he was coached by Hall of Fame coach Don Nelson.
All in all, Griffin had two stints with the Mavs, including the 2005-06 season in which the Mavs reached the NBA Finals. Griffin began his coaching career during the 2008-09 season, as he was an assistant coach on the Milwaukee Bucks.
It’s no surprise that Griffin’s coaching career started with Milwaukee, as they were coached by Scott Skiles, who he played for on numerous stints.
Griffin left the Bucks’ staff to join the Chicago Bulls, who were coached by former Houston Rockets assistant Tom Thibodeau. Griffin remained with the Bulls from 2010-15, which were wildly successful seasons for the Bulls.
The Bulls had the best record in the Eastern Conference from 2010-12, and reached the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, but were eliminated by the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. Griffin remained with the Bulls for the entirety of Thibodeau’s run as the head coach, before leaving in 2015-16 to join the Orlando Magic for a season.
Griffin then joined Billy Donovan’s staff in Oklahoma City prior to the start of the 2016-17 season, which was Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook’s MVP season. Griffin spent three total seasons in OKC, before joining the Toronto Raptors prior to the start of the 2018-19 season.
The Raptors had undergone a shake-up, as they parted ways with Dwane Casey, who had just won the Coach of the Year. Nick Nurse was ushered in, and the Raptors won the NBA title in Nurse’s first season at the helm, and Griffin’s first season on Nurse’s bench.
The Raptors over-achieved during the 2019-20 season, as many expected them to have a catastrophic dropoff, due to the departure of Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors instead finished with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, which says alot about Nurse’s coaching staff.
Prior to the announcement of Billy Donovan becoming the next Bulls’ head coach, Griffin was linked to the Bulls’ vacancy, which isn’t surprising considering the amount of time he spent with the franchise, as both a player and coach.
It also wouldn’t be a surprise if Griffin was being considered for the OKC vacancy, considering how he spent three seasons as an assistant coach for the Thunder. At 46-years-old, Griffin would seem to be a fit for an OKC team that is equipped with draft picks to rebuild their roster through younger players.
Next: No. 3