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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Doc Rivers has interesting comments about former team Clippers

Doc Rivers in a suit

Doctor Rivers is offering an interesting medical diagnosis about his time with his old team.

Speaking with reporters this week before Friday’s matchup against the LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers made some noteworthy comments about the Clippers, the last team he coached before the 76ers.

“Listen, I was with [that] organization for [seven] years,” said Rivers, per Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer. “But a lot happened in that [seven] years. I left [the organization] a place of destination.”

“We were the laughingstock [when I arrived],” Rivers continued. “‘No one wanted to play for the Clippers.’ We heard all of that. ‘If there’s a free-agent war versus the Lakers, don’t try.’ That [transformation] is something that I will always be proud of. The Clippers now are in the NBA, and I feel like I played a major part in that.”

Rivers indeed deserves his credit for the good that he did for the Clippers. He led them to 48-plus wins in six of his seven seasons and also masterfully guided the franchise through the turbulence of the Donald Sterling scandal. Winning the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes over the rival Los Angeles Lakers in 2019 was a major coup as well.

Detractors will argue however that the Clippers were already a 56-win team under Vinny del Negro before Rivers arrived in 2013. Rivers also inherited a roster that already had Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, whom many will point to as bigger reasons for the Clippers’ success. Furthermore, there is the obvious barb of Rivers’ playoff shortcomings, having never gotten the Clippers out of the second round.

The correct answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Rivers was a fine leader for the Clippers whom players respected and who gave the franchise a sense of legitimacy they were previously lacking. But it was also the correct decision for the Clippers to move on from him in 2020 and hire Tyronn Lue, who led them to their first conference finals berth ever in his first season and is now outperforming despite major injury absences in his second season. Rivers was also probably no longer tenable for the Clippers considering his beef with one of their current stars.

Photo: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports


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