Nov 15, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; ESPN analyst Doc Rivers during a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks still haven’t officially confirmed the news, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Doc Rivers will be the team’s next head coach.

Yet, most sports media members had already debated the decision for hours.

There didn’t seem to be much debate — as everyone hated the move universally.

The Rivers-bashing began in earnest Tuesday night after CNN reported that Rivers had accepted a deal with the Bucks. (To make the situation even more surreal, TNT reported the news, citing CNN, then later stood by the report, even after other outlets pushed back on its validity.

The team fired head coach Adrian Griffin earlier in the day after just 43 games.

A few critics chimed in on the Rivers-to-Bucks scenario Tuesday night after the CNN report, but they came out in force Wednesday after Woj’s confirmation. Things got ugly quickly. Fox Sports Radio’s Ben Maller noted about Rivers on his show, “He is a grifter. The guy’s a smooth talker … He’s a charismatic con man in term terms of coaching.”

Those are harsh words about a coach with a .590 career-winning percentage in 24 seasons, but Rivers has made a habit of having highly talented teams fold in the postseason. The Philadelphia 76ers fired Rivers last year after losing to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals despite initially leading the series 3-2.

Stephen A. Smith doesn’t like the move.

“If Doc Rivers doesn’t succeed at this job, my prediction is it will be his last as a head coach in the NBA,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take.

Former NBA player and now analyst JJ Redick didn’t pull any punches, either.

“This is f****** insane what’s happening. It’s wild. It’s wild. It’s insane,” Redick said on his The Old Man & the Three podcast. Redick seemed to be more surprised by the Bucks’ decision to fire Griffin than bringing in Rivers.

Redick pointed out that Rivers had won an NBA championship (2008 with the Celtics), and the team wanted an established coach.

“It makes a lot of sense to a certain faction of people. … I don’t think Doc Rivers is the coach that would get this team to a championship,” Redick said.

FS1’s Emmanuel Acho tweeted a clip of a Speak broadcast that aired before Philly’s semifinal loss last season, where he documented Rivers’ postseason flops.

“Who is Doc Rivers?” Acho commented, adding a vomit emoji for emphasis, before recapping Rivers’ record.

The Bucks have made their decision, for better or worse. CBS Sports Radio’s Zach Gelb pointed out that, given almost everyone hates this decision, the outcome seems inevitable.

“I’m not a fan of the Bucks bringing in Doc Rivers, he said. “With that being said, everyone is slamming it, and understandably so. So we know how this will end … the Bucks will win it all this year, and everyone will be wrong.”

[Fox Sports Radio]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.