In recent weeks, the New York Knicks have been linked to Duke’s AJ Griffin in mock drafts. If he’s on the board when the Knicks make their pick at No. 11 (if they don’t trade up), he could make an immediate impact on the team in 2022-23. But his father Adrian Griffin could help New York out before his son has the chance to do so.
The 47-year-old currently serves as the lead assistant under Toronto Raptors’ Nick Nurse, which is a position that Griffin’s held since 2018. But with Quin Snyder’s resignation from the Utah Jazz, Griffin now has the opportunity to secure his first head coaching role.
Griffin’s one of many candidates who have been identified over the past two days. Johnnie Bryant, the lead assistant under Tom Thibodeau, has also been listed as a candidate, which is something that Knicks fans should be worried about. If Thibodeau’s third season in New York doesn’t work out, Bryant should be the one to take over for him, but that won’t happen if he’s the head coach for Utah.
Knicks fans should hope that the Jazz will hire Adrian Griffin as their new head coach
Four years ago, the Raptors hired Nurse to replace Dwane Casey. In his first season at the helm, Nurse led Toronto to its first NBA title. A year after that, he was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year. That’s a title that Thibodeau was awarded in 2020-21, but the Knicks’ 37-45 finish in 2021-22 overshadowed that.
The Raptors finished fifth in the East with a 48-34 record this past season, so Nurse’s job isn’t in danger. Thibodeau’s could be if New York has yet another disappointing year in 2022-23.
That’s where Griffin comes in. His coaching career started in 2008 with the Milwaukee Bucks, so it’s been a long time coming for him. He’s helped to construct the success that Toronto has built and he has a solid shot to do the same with the Jazz.
Bryant’s role with the Knicks shouldn’t be downplayed because he’s an extremely valuable part of the organization, but fans should be crossing their fingers that Danny Ainge and Utah opt for someone like Griffin.
Obviously, it’s not up to Griffin to choose the Jazz’s replacement for Snyder, but if he were to be the one to take over in Utah, New York would collectively breathe a sigh of relief. To be straightforward, the Knicks can’t afford to lose Bryant. Why? He could end up being their next head coach.
If Griffin becomes the head coach of the Jazz and New York drafts his son in a couple of weeks, Knicks fans should be twice as thankful for the coach.