Let me preface in saying that Doc Rivers is a good coach. I'll further that in saying he is an above average head coach. But we are also allowed dial it back a bit. Recently I have.
Doc Rivers is an overrated head coach. And it's perfectly ok to have that position. You know who else think's he's overrated? One of his now former players.
Glen Davis played under Rivers with the Boston Celtics from 2008-2011 and then later a stint with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014 to 2015.
Last week Davis appeared on Chris Broussard's "In The Zone" podcast and had alot to say about his now former boss. Here's is the transcript between Davis and Broussard. Let's just say the man they call "Big Baby" did not hold back.
Davis: Because what Doc had in ’08 was special and he was lucky as hell … Lucky as hell. The year before that they was wearing trash bags … But then the next year they win it, now he is one of the best coaches ever? I’m just not feeling that. You know what I mean? You give credit to KG. You give credit to Paul Pierce. You give credit to Ray Allen. Those are the guys who made sure whatever Doc needed to be done, got done.
Many people are going to automatically assume and take the position that there's some bad blood there on Davis's end because Davis was unceremoniously released by the team in 2015. Positively you can actually make that point and I honestly won't be mad at you.
Yet that doesn't make his opinion on Doc Rivers any less valid.
In fact when you look at Doc's coaching career with a more contextualized point of view, that argument of Doc Rivers being viewed as overrated can be made. And very easily if we're being honest.
Doc Rivers was mediocre at best during his 5 year run with the Orlando Magic before he was fired in 2003 after starting the season 1-11.
His pre-Big Three Boston years weren't much better. In fact before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined forces with Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers was a laughingstock and on his way out of a job. Boston was a sub .500 team and going nowhere fast. Fans were coming to games with paper bags.
Now in the interest of fairness I'm not going to insult Rivers in saying he played no part in the Celtics winning an NBA championship in 2008. But going from 24 wins in 2007 to 66 in 2008 difference just doesn't happen by accident.
It is his tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers that's been the eye opener. Yes, the Clippers have been a consistent 50 plus win team every season. Yet they have still failed to crack a seat into the Western Conference Finals -- something that has alluded this franchise since it's inception in 1970.
Now we can be somewhat fair as well. Some of the Clippers failure has been due to both the overwhelming consistency of the San Antonio Spurs and the meteoric rise of the Golden State Warriors franchise in the last three years from solid to all time regular season darlings. But let's not pretend the Clippers don't have a damn good roster themselves. They are littered with all NBA caliber talent like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. A pretty solid supporting cast as well with guys like Jamal Crawford, who seems to win the NBA's 6th Man Of The Year on a consistent year to year basis, JJ Redick and more.
When the Clippers fired Vinny Del Negro as head man in 2013, they were coming off a 56 win season.
Doc Rivers has been in LA for nearly four seasons. He's bested that Del Negro win total only once at 57 wins. That came during his first season. One can argue though Doc has possessed better talent on his roster during his entire tenure.
Plus we cannot forget the ultimate reprimand of their 3-1 series lead that turned into utter collapse at the hands of the Houston Rockets in the 2015 playoffs.
The blindfolds are off in how we view Doc Rivers. It is now up to Rivers himself to change the perception once more.
Just like in 2008.