The LA Clippers have parted ways with Doc Rivers. Who should replace him as head coach?
Doc Rivers is a well-respected NBA head coach with championship experience. He’s 11th on the league’s all-time wins list, has won nearly 60 percent of his games over 21 years in the association and is one of the biggest reasons the LA Clippers have become a relevant franchise.
Between that success and his comforting, sage leadership during the Donald Sterling scandal, playoff struggles, coronavirus pandemic and rampant social injustice issues, he came to embody the new, far more respectable era of Clippers basketball.
Unfortunately, none of that kept him safe in the wake of their second-round playoff collapse in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Rivers is out as head coach in LA, and his personal statement via Twitter makes it sound like it was the team’s decision to let him go.
Doc Rivers’ departure from the LA Clippers is surprising
This is a truly stunning development, given how instrumental he was in this franchise’s rise to prominence during the Lob City era and then again with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this season. However, the Clippers had developed a reputation as chokers come playoff time, and with Rivers’ squad collapsing with a 3-1 lead for the second time during his tenure there, those lost title aspirations were apparently enough to convince the front office it was time for a change.
In a normal season, with real home-court advantage and no four-month hiatus in the middle of the year, perhaps the Clippers would’ve reached their first ever conference finals, NBA Finals or even Larry O’Brien trophy. But once the Denver Nuggets completed their impressive 3-1 comeback in the conference semis, it was starting to feel like Rivers also embodied the cursed element of LA’s other basketball team.
Now it will be on the front office to replace Rivers — a well-respected and admired coach — with someone who can get this talented roster over the hump, manage a deep playoff rotation better and extract more offense from a group of talented isolation scorers. Here are the five best candidates to do so.
Honorable mentions: Mike D’Antoni, Ime Udoka, Becky Hammon, Dave Joerger, David Fizdale, Nate McMillan, Adrian Griffin, Brett Brown, Jacque Vaughn