Pedigree means everything in bringing a championship formula to a team. Glenn “Doc” Rivers has it. The Los Angeles Clippers badly needed it. Now the heralded former Boston Celtics coach is bringing that mojo to the Clippers to help the team contend for an NBA title.
Wednesday, Rivers was formally introduced as the Clippers new coach and the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations.
All of those “Lob City” dunks and highlight-reel plays hasn’t been enough to help the Clippers get past some of the other elite squads in the Western Conference when the real season comes down to the postseason.
The last two seasons have been a blast for Clipper Nation. But it also been a bit disheartening. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin leading the way, the Clippers have surpassed expectations and more, turning the franchise into one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA.
The Clippers even won their first Pacific Division title this past season to along with recording a 56-win season. But it didn’t matter. The Clippers got bounced out of the first round of the playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies. With Paul being an unrestricted free agent, the Clippers made the one important move to help retain the All-Star guard services for years to come: bring in Rivers.
Vinny Del Negro did not have his coaching contract renewed by the team, thus opening the door for a high-powered coach with the right credentials (winning tradition, NBA championship) to come in and put the Clippers over the threshold of NBA elitism. By successfully executing this highly unusual coaching transaction, it is widely assumed that the Clippers’ latest move would be enough to convince Paul to stay put with the team.
The Clippers have to like their chances of keeping Paul. Business is business, but it is a good bet that the Clippers sealed the deal of getting Paul back now that Rivers has officially join the team. Rivers’ coaching expertise could very well take the the Clippers to the ultimate destination: the NBA Finals.
Well, that is certainly the expectation that comes with a reported three-year, $21 million contract that Rivers and the Clippers have agreed to.
By wrestling Doc Rivers away from the Celtics, the Clippers have kind of served notice to the rest of the league that they aren’t playing around anymore. They mean business. They want to contend for a championship. Division titles are nice, but the Clippers surely look like a team that want a whole lot more.
Clipper Nation mean to take over the town. Being second fiddle to that other team across the hallway at Staples Center just won’t cut it anymore. The last two seasons has brought out the best from the Clippers. Paul and Blake Griffin brought an identity to the team with “Lob City.”
Assuming Paul will re-sign with the club, they now have the ideal coach to help take them over the postseason hump when the game gets a lot more bogged down in the half-court, a weakness for the last couple of seasons. Rivers took the Celtics to the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2009, winning the championship the first season that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen united as teammates.
Known as a master strategist, Rivers won NBA Coach of the Year honors as coach for the Orlando Magic before he went over to take the Celtics coaching gig. With some of the league’s best talent at his disposal, could very well be up for that award again should he elevate the Clippers to championship status.
The Clippers certainly have the talent to reach that level. They now have the coach to take them there.