If the Los Angeles Clippers still want to be relevant come next season, they’ll need to find a suitable coach that can properly dictate this team on and off the court. While the firing of Vinny Del Negro was disconcerting (especially given that the Clippers won their division for the first time in team history this past season), if the Clippers can land an intelligent coach that preaches necessary cohesion over isolated favoritism they’ll have a shot at being a dominant force in the west. For now, the Clippers have their microscope focused on one proven candidate that could usher in a championship era for this up and coming team; Doc Rivers.
Since 2004, Rivers has been the Boston Celtics unwavering sage who has been responsible for their more recent successes, particularly in 2008 when they won the NBA championship. Despite the fact that the Celtics have only garnered a single championship throughout Rivers’ nine-year tenure, his ability to keep his team mostly intact along with acquiring outside talent to fill up vacant positions has allowed the Celtics to remain a household name when discussing the playoffs. Even after losing their star point guard Rajon Rando due to injury in the middle of the season, Rivers never let his team become distracted or disheartened by this devastating loss. Instead Rivers intuitively used his roster to take on a different persona that wasn’t predicated on Rando’s ability to consistently find the open man. While Avery Bradley was a adequate replacement, the rest of the season became more about Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett stepping up their game to an entirely different level to compensate for Rondo’s absence.
With that being said, if Doc Rivers ultimately decides to take the coaching position with the Clippers, he’ll have to either adapt to the teams play style or come up with an innovative scheme that incorporates his philosophies along with his team’s innate abilities. Initially, it seemed that Rivers would be accompanied by his long time center Kevin Garnett if he made the transition. However, given complications with the deal as of recently, it seems that the Clippers are primarily concerned with acquiring Doc Rivers as soon as possible rather than dealing with secondary transactions involving Garnett and possibly Paul Pierce somewhere down the line.
Ultimately, while the Clippers do need a veteran coach with an impressive resume, they are more adamant about accommodating the needs of their star player Chris Paul. It could be speculated that the Clippers released Del Negro due to Paul’s apparent issues with the coach, which appeared to be personal in the nature. Nevertheless, no matter what can be drawn from that particular controversy, it can’t be denied that the Clippers decision-making is at the mercy of Chris Paul’s wishes. If the Clippers were to lose Paul outright, they would not only regress to a depressing state of mediocrity, they would most likely lose Paul to their rival franchise that he should have been with in the first place; The Los Angeles Lakers.
Acquiring Doc Rivers could effectively alleviate the stress the Clippers feel to constantly appease Paul while allowing their franchise to become united internally. In this way, the Clippers can focus on their game as it pertains to their on the court actions rather than the unnecessary personal issues the players have with how they are being managed. More specifically, Rivers would be able to instantaneously garner immediate respect from the individual players (most importantly Chris Paul), allowing them to pursue a form of athletic excellence that will ultimately craft them into a better and more versatile team.
In the end, while the Clippers and the Celtics aren’t any closer to successfully completing these negotiations, it’s hard to believe that the Clippers could find anyone else to fill their coaching vacancy. Despite the fact that there are other coaches still looking for employment such as former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, Rivers is by far the most qualified candidate that is worth the price admission. Between his ability to cater to individual players needs effectively both on and off the court and his tenaciously insightful coaching tactics, Doc Rivers would be breath of fresh for a team that is in desperate need of discipline and strong leadership capabilities.