Doc Rivers has had a long and storied career as an NBA coach. He started in 1999 as the head coach of the Orlando Magic where he won the Coach of the Year award at the end of his very first season in 2000. He continued with the Magic till the 2003-04 season where he was fired after the team started with just a 1-10 record.
In 2004, Rivers signed with the Boston Celtics, one of the most successful franchises NBA history. In his 9 seasons with the Celtics, Rivers led them to the playoffs 7 times. Of these 7 playoff appearances, Boston won the NBA Championship once in 2008 and made it to the finals in 2010 where they came up short to the Los Angeles Lakers.
After leaving the Celtics and signing with the Clippers in 2013, Rivers has made it to the playoffs all but once but never made it past the semis. Rivers now has a chance to win the Coach of the Year award once again.
He is a nominee to win the award for a second time along with Michael Malone and Mike Budenholzer. While all three are excellent coaches, Rivers has an edge and should be the recipient of the award. Here's why.
#3 Clippers exceeded expectations
Heading into the 2018-19, the Clippers weren't expected to make much of their season. ESPN predicted that they would win 37 games at best and place 11th in the West. At first glance, this seemed like a reasonable expectation. The best player on the team was Tobias Harris before he was traded at the deadline.
After the deadline, the expectations for the team dropped even lower. However, under the leadership of Rivers, the players willed their way to a 48-34 record which was good enough for the 8th seed in a very competitive Western Conference.
The Clippers came to be known as the scrappy and gritty bunch that put their hearts out on the floor every single night. With this effort, they managed to exceed the expectations that everyone had for them at the beginning of the season.