Now that All-Star weekend is over, the Los Angeles Clippers, who are currently the 9th seed in the Western Conference, have 26 games left to slide into the playoffs. Maybe more importantly, these last games will decide whether Doc Rivers will stay as the head coach of the Clippers.
Ever since the Chris Paul and Blake Griffin trade, Doc Rivers has been in a lot of heat for being the reason why the Clippers never made it far into the playoffs when they had a very talented team. If the Clippers fail to show any improvement this season,Rivers has a high chance of being removed. In the remaining games, the Clippers face each of the Western Conference’s top ten seeds, making for a very difficult end to the season. However, this may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as if the Clippers manage to have a victorious last stretch, they will assert themselves as a competitor, and Doc will establish himself as the right fit for the Clippers.
For a young team like the Clippers, Rivers is the perfect coach. Now that Blake Griffin is gone, they solely rely on team chemistry and team play in order to win. While they have some NBA veterans to lead the team, such as DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams, and Danilo Gallinari, most of their team is still comparatively young. As players tend to get older, they sometimes defy their coach as they grow big egos and what they think is best often defies what the coach has planned out. On the other hand, the Clippers have humble leaders with energetic young players who work hard every game and work as one comparative unit.
Doc Rivers is a very emotional coach and this emotion feeds off well to this energetic Clippers team who are willing to listen and learn. All the players and staff on the team are one collective force, and the tension that was once was with the Clippers because of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is now gone. Instead of their own individual stats, the players on the Clippers care about the team wins. Thus, the Clippers are an ideal team in the sense that all the players like each other and play with a common purpose even though they might have less talent than other teams. To nurture this chemistry, Rivers is perfect as his passionate spirit will motivate the team to work even harder.
In short, Doc Rivers is a solid coach for the Clippers as his ability to get close to players ties in well with the team’s newfound identity of team basketball.