Beyond the Arc
by Ben Fiore
Before the 2018-2019 NBA season started, ESPN predicted the Los Angeles Clippers to win a total of 33 games. Last night, they just clinched a playoff spot. They are currently (45-30), and holding strong at the 5th spot in the west. I owe this success to the superb coaching ability of Doc Rivers.
In his coaching career spanning from 1999 to present day, Doc holds a record of (891-654) which lands him a .577 win percentage. Doc has coached the Orlando Magic from 1999-2004 posting a (171-168) record, then coached the Boston Celtics from 2004- 2013 with a (416-305) record where he won a championship in 2008 with the assembled “Boston Three Party” of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. And now, he has coached the LA Clippers to this day with a current record of (304-181) from 2013 until now. I think that the Clippers have been Doc’s toughest test in his career and that’s also including his 13 year playing career too.
Doc is one of the only coaches to have ever been traded, which happened to him thanks to Danny Ainge in the Celtics’ front office who sent him to LA in 2013. The Clippers for years have been 2nd chair to the LA Lakers, but since Doc has arrived in LA, the Lakers have yet to make the playoffs where the Clippers have went 5 out of Doc’s 6 years there. And the Clippers still aren’t taken seriously somehow. A big thing that you need to take into consideration is that he just made the playoffs without Blake Griffin who was traded to the Detroit Pistons last season and Chris Paul who went to the Houston Rockets in 2017 who were the stars of that team for some time. They also lost another star in Tobias Harris this year to the Philadelphia 76ers and are still a playoff team. With underrated beasts like Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams with an extensive supporting cast, Doc has shown he can win with any set of players that are thrown at him.
Now I don’t expect the Clippers to win a championship, but over the last few years they have proven their legitimacy. They have won the season series vs the Lakers since Doc arrived, and are the 2nd best team in California behind the Warriors but are definitely in front of the Lakers and Kings. The Clippers players and front office are thankful for and loyal to Rivers. He evidently is loyal to them, signing an extension and turning away all rumors of him coaching somewhere else. I want Doc to win another championship and even though I don’t expect it, I can’t count him out. I love Doc for his personality and energy. This guy called a timeout during a Mavericks vs Clippers game this year just for the crowd to pay respects to Dirk Nowitzki. Doc is a stand up guys, and I believe he has more than proven that he is an elite coach.