Sometime in the next four months, Adrian Griffin will take the court in his debut as the Milwaukee Bucks head coach. If his coaching debut is anything like the debut he made as an NBA player back in 1999, it could be historic.
Griffin was a three-year starter at Seton Hall. Undrafted out of college, Griffin began a professional basketball career playing in Italy and American minor leagues, where he was in 1998-99 selected as the Continental Basketball Association MVP. He eventually signed as a free agent with the Boston Celtics in 1999 and made his NBA debut on November 2, 1999.
Stats you don’t know about Bucks’ coach Adrian Griffin’s debut as a player
In that game, Griffin was in the starting lineup versus the Raptors in Toronto. He played 27:50 in the game, won by the Celtics, 103-90. Griffin’s stat line for the game was 14 points on five field goals and four free throws, seven assists, three rebounds, and no turnovers.
With zero turnovers in 25 or more minutes in his NBA debut, Griffin, according to research on Stathead (Subscription required), is one of only 47 players in league history to make their NBA debut with no turnovers in 25 or more minutes of playing time.
But what makes that debut even more impressive is that of those 47 players, Griffin is the only player to play 25 or more minutes in their debut with zero turnovers, score 14 or more points, and have seven or more assists. Yes, the only player with these numbers in their debut… 25 minutes played, 14 points, seven assists, and no turnovers.
Those stats in a debut would be impressive enough. But in addition to those stats mentioned in Griffin’s debut, he also had two steals and two blocked shots. With two steals and two blocked shots in an NBA debut, Griffin is one of only 27 NBA players to accomplish this in their first game. Another noteworthy accomplishment in an NBA debut!
Griffin went on to have a nine-year career in the NBA, playing for five teams: Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Houston, and Seattle. He played in 477 NBA games in his career, starting 127.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, he is one of 40 Kansas-born NBA players. His 1,919 career NBA points rank him 13th on the list for most points scored by an NBA player born in Kansas. He is also one of 31 players who played collegiately at Seton Hall to appear in the NBA. His 1,919 career points are 11th most of any of those Seton Hall players.
Finally, Griffin did have a connection as a player to the Milwaukee Bucks. He appeared in 14 games against the Bucks in his career, starting three of those contests. He averaged 3.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in those games versus the Bucks. After the 2007-08 season, Griffin ended up with the Bucks as part of a three-team trade. He never played a game with the Bucks, and shortly after his playing career ended, he took a position as a Bucks assistant coach on Scott Skiles’s staff. Years later, he’s back in Milwaukee as the new head coach.
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