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Griffin wants Bucks to be 'tough' and 'mean' in summer league

The Bucks new head coach will take the reins and lead the team in NBA Summer League beginning Friday in Las Vegas.
Posted at 7:50 PM, Jul 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-06 15:42:18-04

MILWAUKEE (NBC 26) — The draft is in the rear-view mirror. Free agency is mostly over, too. Up next for the Bucks: NBA Summer League, which begins Friday.

New head coach Adrian Griffin will lead the team in Las Vegas. That's relatively rare; typically an assistant coach will take the reins in summer, but the first-time head coach sees this as an opportunity to get some experience and set the tone for the team.

"We have a new staff coming in and it's important that we're all on the same page," Griffin said Wednesday. "I thought it would benefit everyone if I'd get on the floor."

Overall, it's an almost completely new coaching staff, which includes two former Bucks head coaches in Terry Stotts and Joe Prunty.

"One of the reasons why I wanted them on my staff is because they know more than I do," Griffin laughed. "I get to pick their brain."

"They've been around the NBA forever," he said of Prunty and Stotts. "They're seasoned, they're proven. We've had some great talks."

As for players, Milwaukee's summer league roster includes draft picks Andre Jackson and Chris Livingston. There are several tryout players - like 7'6" fan favorite Tacko Fall and former Gonzaga star Drew Timme.

Returning players AJ Green and MarJon Beauchamp will also play with the team this summer.

Beauchamp - who is expected to take on a bigger role in his second season - said he loves what Griffin has brought to the table so far. He particularly likes the emphasis on defense, which he said he feels fits the team's personnel.

"It's everything that we needed because of our length of our team," Beauchamp said. "Being in the gaps on the defensive side and defense being the main thing... I'm very excited about that and very excited about Coach Griffin."

"I feel like he's the one we needed," he added.

Beauchamp is a lock to make the team, but most players on the Summer League squad won't make the final roster.

Still, Griffin is using this as an opportunity to set the tone in his debut season.

"We're talking about being the toughest, the meanest summer league team out there," he said. "When you defend at a high level you always give yourself a chance."

He hopes the players will use him as an example once the games begin on Friday.

"I started my career in summer league and ended up playing nine years (in the NBA)," Griffin said. "If we go there and we win - I'm not saying you'll be on an NBA roster - but you give yourself a chance."

"It happened for me twice," he said.

The Bucks first Summer League game is Friday at 4:00 p.m. against the Denver Nuggets. It will be televised on ESPNU.

Griffin also confirmed Wednesday that Giannis Antetokounmpo had surgery on his left knee last month. He called the procedure "routine" and said he expects Giannis to be ready for training camp.