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#pounditMonday, May 27, 2024

Doc Rivers responds to shade from JJ Redick

Doc Rivers coaching the Bucks

Feb 6, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers looks on during the third quarter of the game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Doc Rivers responded to some long-standing criticism aimed at him by JJ Redick.

In February, Redick was sharply critical of Rivers for what he saw as a lack of accountability in the veteran coach. Redick argued that Rivers was “always making excuses” when his teams underachieve, which elicited a lot of responses from around the NBA.

None of those responses came from Rivers themselves until now. The Bucks coach was asked by Stephen A. Smith about Redick’s comments in an appearance on “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” and while he was largely respectful, he certainly took some shots of his own.

“JJ’s had a problem with me for a while, and that’s fine. Players do,” Rivers said. “If you make decisions that the player doesn’t agree with — in JJ’s case, we didn’t sign him back, and with the Clippers, I stopped playing him as much because he wasn’t very effective in the playoffs — that’s all known. I’m fine with that.

“JJ Redick’s best numbers of his career was under one coach. You’re looking at him right here. I’m the one that grabbed him out of Milwaukee and decided to start him. From that point on, his career took off. All the movement plays, everything. First play of the game, every game when we played with the Clippers, we would have coaches and teams come up to you and say ‘you’re not going to score on that first play with JJ.’ And I would always think, just watch us. We’re going to figure it out. Overall, nothing but love for JJ. Obviously, there’s things he doesn’t like, and I have no issues with him.”

Rivers coached the Clippers from 2013 to 2020, with Redick playing for him for four of those seasons. The coach is correct that they were among the best years of Redick’s career. Redick averaged more points per game after leaving the Clippers, but was less efficient as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rivers was largely magnanimous here, though the remark about Redick being ineffective in the playoffs certainly felt like twisting the knife a bit. To be fair to Redick, though, some of Rivers’ honesty can certainly come off as excuse-making. It certainly does not help Rivers’ case that he did not really improve the Bucks after taking over, going 17-19 down the stretch after taking over a team that was 30-13 when they fired Adrian Griffin.

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