Today, the NBA Draft combine got underway, and as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported yesterday, sources said that the Utah Jazz would be interviewing a handful of potential coaches this week. On Wednesday, one of the first coaches the Jazz will go after was announced.
Adrian Wojnarowski, as usual, was the first to break the news via Twitter.
Utah Jazz have been granted permission to interview Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin for head coaching job, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 14, 2014
Griffin, as mentioned, is currently an assistant with the Chicago Bulls under Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls wrapped up their season a couple weeks ago when they were eliminated in the first round of the NBA Playoffs by the Washington Wizards.
Griffin spent the last couple seasons before his time with the Bulls as an assistant coach/player development with the Milwaukee Bucks.
After spending his college career at Seton Hall, Griffin went undrafted and found playing time in other leagues. One season, Griffin played in Italy, and the other three were played in the CBA with the Connecticut Pride. In his time with the Pride, Griffin was named league MVP and Finals MVP in the 1998-99 season.
Griffin then spent time finally making it into the NBA. His first NBA gig was playing for the Boston Celtics from 1999-2001. Griffin also spent time with the Dallas Mavericks (2001-2003, 2005-2006), the Houston Rockets (2003-2004), the Chicago Bulls (2004-2005, 2006-2008), and the Seattle Supersonics (2007-2008).
Earlier this week, rumors surfaced that Griffin was the leading candidate for the head coaching vacancy with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers traded for Bulls forward Luol Deng before the trade deadline this season, and with Deng being an unrestricted free agent, are looking at trying to get him to come back to Cleveland.
So what kind of a coach is Adrian Griffin? Well, ask the coach Thibodeau and you can hear how highly he speaks of Griffin in an article from sportingnews.com.
I’m hopeful he will get more consideration, head coaching opportunities. He has done a terrific job. He is strong in all areas. He is a great communicator, leader, and a great teacher. I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful for him. I think he’s deserving.
~ Tom Thibodeau, Bulls head coach
On the head coaching aspirations that Griffin has, he had this to say in the same story from sportingnews.com.
I have been learning a lot in this role, this is my sixth year. I learned under Tom, I learned under Scott Skiles and overall, it is great to see how things work in an organization, especially an organization like the Bulls. That’s something I could bring to any team.
My journey has taken me through every facet of the game,” Griffin said. “I have been on the outside looking in, working my way up, I have been overseas, I was a starter in the league, I was buried on the bench, I have been cut—everything imaginable in the league, I have been through it.
It helps me relate to players. I can tell them how to handle different situations. The NBA is a grind, the 82 games, the travel, the pressure, the expectations, so I call on my experience and past knowledge to build a bond with the players.
~ Adrian Griffin, Bulls assistant coach
The Utah Jazz are rumored to be interviewing a handful of coaches this week, but as fans, to hear a little bit about what is going on is refreshing. The question will now be, if hired, how does Griffin fit with the Jazz.