The NBA is currently home to several great all-time coaches. Erik Spoelstra, Steve Kerr, Nate McMillan, and Rick Carlise all come to mind. The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the best NBA coaches ever currently employed. Doc Rivers has the tenth-most wins ever, won the NBA Finals in 2008, and was named Coach of the Year in 2000. He has a very good case at being inducted into the Hall of Fame someday.
Doc Rivers could claim very well that out of most current NBA head coaches, he has had the best career. I’d say he’s a better coach than all of the aforementioned skippers, even if they have more rings.
One man stands in Doc Rivers’ way, however, and will always be better than him. Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs is the best coach in NBA history. He is currently third-most in wins ever but should take the record for himself this season. He has five NBA titles, an Olympic Gold Medal, and has been named Coach of the Year three times.
It’s hard to compare yourself to the GOAT, but Doc Rivers tried to in a postgame interview on Friday. After his Sixers lost to the LA Clippers by a point after blowing a 24 point lead, the postgame press conference was tense, to say the least.
When asked by USA Today reporter Austin Krell how much of the loss was due to poor coaching considering a 24-point lead was blown, I would say that’s a fair question. Doc disagreed.
“Would you ask Pop that question? No, you wouldn’t," said Rivers. So don’t ask me that question. I’ve earned that.”
Sorry, Doc. But you aren’t anywhere near Gregg Popovich. You have fewer wins and fewer rings, but hey, you do have more blown 3-1 playoff leads than Popovich. Actually, Rivers has blown a 3-1 lead three times now, which is more than anyone else, ever.
Doc Rivers is a very good coach and has seen a few years with a lot of success. He has coached some very good teams. Gregg Popovich is the best NBA coach ever. It takes a big man to compare himself to Pop, but it takes an even bigger man to actually fill those shoes.
Doc Rivers is not there yet, contrary to what he might have to say on the matter.