Sports Out West

Los Angeles Clippers 2013: Why Doc Rivers is not the reason the Clippers are contenders

Photo by Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons

Doc Rivers will not be the reason the Los Angeles Clippers win a championship.

But, he doesn’t have to be.

Rivers is the premiere head coach the Clippers chose to replace Vinny Del Negro. He’s the guy who made Boston into a division winner the first year he stepped in and a Coach of the Year when he was in Orlando.

The pundits will be quick to raise the point that Rivers, over the course of his career, makes great teams great and good teams good, but he doesn’t make mediocre teams better. That’s definitely true on paper and statistics. However, Rivers was a key proponent behind Rajon Rondo‘s development and the harmony of the Boston “Big Three.” This “ego” balancing alone is something many head coaches not named Phil Jackson lack in the overall scheme.

While, this isn’t to say that Rivers needs to manage a team of super egos, it helps that a coach has a past history of leading a team with three future hall of famers to a championship. So why won’t he be the reason?

Simply because the players are.

It can be argued that J.J. Redick may be the difference or DeAndre Jordan‘s development, or an another level of Blake Griffin can be it. But, Rivers will help. He will be credited as such if the Clippers do make the hump, but the biggest difference makers on the team are the ones who put the stats on the sheets. What Del Negro lacked in play calling and management of minutes and time, Rivers may have an edge on. That, alone, can prove to be a big difference for a team starving for validation.

Rivers has plenty of experience of living up to expectations, but it’s up to the players to reach that level with him. The reason the Clippers may win the championship will be on the players.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons

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Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is a sports and video game journalist born and raised in Southern California. He is great at finding the important detail in the mundane and ordinary. He has published articles for Riot Games, IGN.com, 1UP.com, Rotowire.com, and SBNation.