Adrian Wojnarowski reported last night that Glenn “Doc” Rivers would no longer be the head coach of the Los Angelos Clippers after suffering a second-round exit and blowing a 3-1 series lead.
The 76ers, as most of us know, are down to two potential candidates, Mike D’Antoni and Tyronn Lue, coming in for in-person interviews this week, so how does the Rivers Clippers divorce affect the Sixers’ coaching search? Well according to ESPN’s Marc Spears has already reported that the 76ers and the New Orleans Pelicans have already reached out to Doc about their vacancies. It looks like the Sixers have a new candidate, but is he the right choice?
What we know about Doc Rivers
“Whenever you try to win a title, you have to put your heart on the line.”Doc Rivers in the NetFlix docuseries “The Playbook”
As a player, Doc was a hard-nosed, defensive-minded point guard that spent 13 years in the league after being drafted in the second round. However, most of his NBA success came as a coach. The Orlando Magic gave Rivers his first head coaching job, and in his first season, he won coach of the year by elevating a team with four undrafted starters to a 41-41 record. He coached three more years in Orlando, making the playoffs all three years but was ultimately released after starting 1-10 one season.
After a year off, Rivers was hired by the Boston Celtics in 2004, where he found his best success. Although being called out to be fired by Boston media members like Bill Simmons’, Rivers eventually broke through the championship barrier in 2008 to win his first and only title after beating the Lakers in 6 games. It took that Celtics team an NBA record 26 games total to win all 4 series. The Celtics, under Rivers, made it back the NBA finals in 2010 only to lose to the Lakers in six games. His time came to an end in Boston in when the Clippers traded an unprotected first-round pick for him in 2015.
With the Clippers, Doc Rivers has seen some great regular-season success but ultimately underachieved in the playoffs, including this last season where the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets and were eliminated. This was the third time a Rivers’ led team blew such a lead, and he is the only coach in the history of the NBA to do it multiple times according to ESPN
Doc Rivers currently has a 943-681 regular season record and a 91-89 playoff record for his career.
Doc is an interesting candidate for me, on one hand he is a championship winning coach, but on the other hand he has underachieved a lot of years too in the playoffs. And blowing multiple 3-1 series lead is a red flag. However, it should be noted that Doc has run into some really good teams in the playoffs like the Golden State Warriors and the Lebron led Miami Heat, which losing to those teams shouldn’t really be held against any coach.
One possible good thing would be a Doc and Tobias Harris reunion. Tobias had some of his best years under Doc, averaging over 20 ppg and shooting 43% from three one season.
Another thing to note is in Los Angeles Doc was also the President of Basketball with the team, a position that the Sixers were also rumored to be looking to add. Could Doc also want that position too, and the team can kill two birds with one stone?
The Sixers are being smart by at least reaching out to a Coach Rivers and doing due diligence, at the end of the day he is a championship-winning coach and has coached many great players throughout his career. Could Rivers come in and use how he coached guys like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, and help Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris take the next step? Is the 76ers’ talent enough this time to help Doc break through the championship barrier again? I am still on team Lue as my first choice, but the 76ers would be doing themselves a disservice by not at least bringing Doc in for an interview.
Glenn Doc Rivers is featured on a 5 part docuseries on NetFlix, called The PlayBook. The series profiles some of the most iconic coaches in history.
Tyronn Lue is in Philadelphia today for an in person interview. You can read my write up here
Mike D’Antoni should still be scheduled for an in person interview. You can read my write up here on him.
From rumors and thoughts of people in the know it appears that Lue and MDA are the only finalist with the team reaching out to Doc Rivers last night when it was made known he would not be with the Clippers anymore.