Anytime an upper-echelon NBA group is in want of fixing, you possibly can all the time wager there might be a basketball exec standing over their roster bellowing for a Doc in the home. He’ll give your group a tracheotomy if you had been simply choking on a bone, however for the umpteenth time, Doc Rivers is able to reply the decision and fail up. Until The Athletic’s NBA scoop grasp Shams Charania is being misled, the 2008 Coach of the Yr is amongst 5 candidates being thought-about for the job together with Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel, Suns assistant Kevin Younger and Sacramento Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez for the vacant Phoenix Suns job.
Since getting tapped to steer the Orlando Magic for the 1999 season, all Rivers has finished is stalk the sideline for 23 of the final 24 seasons. The one season he missed was the 2003-04 marketing campaign when he was assigned colour commentary responsibility for the 2004 Finals on ABC, alongside Al Michaels.
Rivers didn’t must work his means up the ladder as an assistant coach. Sometimes, the retired gamers who get entry to the top teaching jobs pipeline with zero sideline credentials are ex-superstars borrowing off their identify recognition. Rivers was chosen by the Atlanta Hawks within the second spherical of the 1983 NBA Draft and parlayed a hustling position participant’s existence right into a prolific teaching profession that has spanned a long time.
Throughout his prime in Atlanta, Rivers averaged a double-double as soon as and was an All-Star reserve in ‘88. His center identify should be Spalding as a result of I’ve by no means seen anybody bounce again — he additionally missed the ultimate shot of the 1982 FIBA World Championships — so constantly from all-time low.
Rivers has been touted as the best player-coach regardless of launching his teaching profession by fumbling a Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, and Tim Duncan tremendous group by refusing to relent on his rule stopping spouses from flying on the group airplane throughout his free company go to in the course of the summer time of 2000. T-Mac and Hill nonetheless contemplate that the second Duncan determined to not signal with the Orlando Magic. Duncan stayed in San Antonio and added 4 extra titles to his coffers. Phil Jackson was savvy sufficient to let Dennis Rodman blow off steam in Vegas in the course of the Finals and Rivers needed to be a hardass to a household man at that second. Rivers’ Helen of Troy profession buried just a few extra ships over the subsequent 20 years.
Doc Rivers has misplaced extra Sport 7s than some other NBA coach
Rivers’ flubbed pitch in the course of the Duncan recruitment foreshadowed what has come to outline his mishap-filled teaching profession — Rivers failing to regulate in crunchtime and his group dropping out in consequence. He oversaw a 3-1 collection collapse in opposition to the Detroit Pistons the subsequent yr. After falling into the Celtics’ laps, he managed to remain out of the best way in 2007 lengthy sufficient for KG, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen to steer the Celtics to a title, however even that period is lamented as a disappointment due to their failure to win a second.
He escaped the Celtics’ collapse and rappelled to Lob Metropolis. Not solely did the Clippers lust over Rivers, they gave up an unprotected first-round decide to amass him. A yr into the job, Rivers stumbled into the president of basketball ops position within the wake of Donald Sterling’s scandal. The Lob Metropolis Clippers all the time fell brief, however Rivers’ model saved its shine. After whipping up two Sport 7 disasters in three seasons on Philly’s sideline, it appeared that the spell had lastly worn off. However Rivers could have some juice left to squeeze out of one other contender.
Rivers fails up like he was stuffed with helium. The one gasses able to escaping his orifices now are gobs of sizzling air. But, he’s a revered determine off of popularity alone, however few ever ask why. Gamers supposedly like him, besides James Harden, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, Rasheed Wallace, and Blake Griffin. You get the purpose. His teaching prowess is smoke and mirrors courtesy of Kevin Garnett and since reaching the head in 2008, he’s been discovered wanting as a tactician too many instances to depend.
A Doc Rivers hiring could appease Chris Paul
For the sake of the Suns, Rivers could also be on the ultimate candidates checklist to appease Paul, who mended his relationship with Rivers years in the past. Nick Nurse needs to be the plain frontrunner, however he might in the end determine to take the Milwaukee Bucks job or wind up in Philly, changing Doc.
What then? Do Mat Ishbia and group president James Jones go searching and understand their main candidates are Rivers and Vogel as a result of they will’t entrust Durant’s golden years to an assistant coach? Vogel has finished yeoman’s work in Indiana and Los Angeles, however Rivers is the shiny object and Durant has an affinity for easy-going player-coaches and not using a system. The Suns’ new group proprietor has been recognized to lean on Isiah Thomas for recommendation and his identify has been bandied about for a outstanding position within the entrance workplace. So as to add smoke to that bustling fireplace, Rivers and Thomas had been each Chicago highschool basketball rivals. If Ishbia has any sense he’ll run from the Rivers speak, however his candidacy has higher odds than you’d like. That is your warning.
Comply with DJ Dunson on Twitter: @cerebralsportex