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Do Fans Legitimately Believe Doc Rivers?

Although Doc Rivers denied it in a podcast recently, the truth is the Clippers were engaged in trade talks with the Celtics for power forward Blake Griffin. Let's take a look at some of Doc's famous quotes to remember what he's all about, and we'll also discuss if the trade is truly dead.

We here at Parquet Pundit were pretty adamant that a trade was going to go down between the Celtics, Clippers, and Kings, but unfortunately, things went sour (we'll explain that later) and the deal died. It isn't completely dead, but things are on hiatus until the rumors quiet down and fans essentially forget about it. In order to throw ice water on the rumor that was spreading, Doc Rivers appeared on Adrian Wojnarowski's podcast for "The Vertical" on Rivers stated that he had spoken with Danny Ainge twice this summer, and both times they spoke, the conversation was about golf (insert eyeroll). 

Seriously, how could anyone believe a word this guys says? "I've spoken to Danny twice this summer, both times about golf." If you hear this as a Clippers fan, the truth is you should be angry. You have a franchise player in Blake Griffin entering a season where he can opt out the following summer, and you aren't speaking with other teams about making a blockbuster trade? You're talking to the team with the best package of current and future assets about the U.S. Open? That isn't just a lie, that is a lie that makes Doc look bad at his job and just flat out irresponsible. 

Rivers blamed the rumors on "bloggers", which we take pride in because we were one of the first major news outlet to report the rumored deal, so Doc must be signing into for his daily reading. Doc can say the rumors were made up all he wants; the truth is the talks happened, continue to happen, and there was a done deal until Doc got greedy and asked for too much when they were about the finish the deal. Everyone was ready to make the deal, and then Doc demands Jae Crowder is in the deal; it's like agreeing to buying a house, and when the papers are being signed, the seller tells the buyer they're going to need an additional 20 grand to make the sale work. Once again, Doc showed his lack of professionalism when it comes to acquiring or trading players (he made a lot of enemies with the DeAndre Jordan fiasco last summer) and months of negotiations are blown up because he, as always, is worried about the PR spin more than he's worried about winning. The other issue with the trade- Doc, as we discussed at length, can't (won't) develop young players, so why would he want any part of the 2018 Brooklyn pick?

For those who are in the "Believers in Doc" camp, well, there probably isn't much I can say to sway you, but simply reading and paying attention to some of Doc's maneuvers over the last five years shows a coach/person who's worried about one thing and one thing only- Doc. You'll hear from established media members how "great" he is and how he knows the name of most of the beat reporters, which makes them feel good, but the truth is Doc is a self-serving hired gun that isn't anywhere near the level of coach he thinks he is. Doc has won a title, but when has he ever taken a young, talented team and made them better? I'm waiting....and waiting...well, I'll just end this exercise because the answer is never.

Doc has had a handful of players develop under his watch, but these were top prospects that slipped in the draft and scooped up by Ainge, and they truly hit their stride in the NBA when they went to another team or worked with another coach. Al Jefferson was good in Boston, but his best years came when he left the Celtics. Rondo developed under Doc's watch, but the two butted heads the whole time and Rondo has never become the player he could have been. Avery Bradley is the third player that developed under Doc, but let's not forget the Bradley was ranked at the top of his draft class with John Wall and he fell down the board due to an ankle injury. Bradley started to develop under Doc, but his game has gone to another level over the last three seasons under Brad Stevens. 

When it comes down to it, Doc is a decent coach that works considerably better with veterans than he does with young guys, and the reason for that is simple- he doesn't WANT to work with the young guys. It is not his talent, not in the slightest, and unlike most professional coaches, he doesn't care to improve in his weak areas. Why do you think he bolted Boston after the second year of a five-year deal? Doc will tell you that Boston wanted to get out from under the weight of his $7 million p/year salary, but that is so far from the truth it's comical. Boston signed Doc to that extension because they knew the Big Three's time was running out and they wanted Doc to not only be their coach through the transition, they also thought he'd be able to draw big time free agents to Boston.

Clearly Doc never had any interest in this plan, and after he went silent following the embarrassing playoff loss to the Knicks in 2013, the writing was on the wall. Celtics ownership and Danny Ainge were extremely frustrated with Doc because they couldn't get a straight answer, so they did what they had to do to ensure they at least received an asset for Rivers. His lack of dedication to a team that was more than patient with him (his career record was 273-312 heading into the 2007-08 season) angered ownership, and that was the end of the line. Rivers decided he wanted the easy route- join a team with a loaded roster and compete for championships every year. 

Doc supporters will point to his 480-241 record from 2007-2016, but when you have Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and a boatload of other talented veterans to supplement the rosters you've coached, it is EXPECTED that you win a lot of games. Doc has one title under his belt, and he lost one in 2010 that he never should have lost (how can your team not be ready in a potential series-clinching Game Six at HOME)? In his three years as Clippers head coach, he's gone 15-18 in the playoffs and hasn't been able to guide the talented Clippers past the second round. Of course his defenders will say "he's in the West, what do you expect?", but Clipper fans should expect this team to at least get to one Conference Final in three seasons with the amount of talent and resources that have been sunken into their roster. 

Of course none of this falls on Doc for some odd reason. He gets a pass when his team repeatedly chokes in the playoffs, and he also gets a pass when he lies to reporters. Yes, there are reasons why he wouldn't want information to leak out regarding trades, but when you tell the world that you've only spoken with Danny Ainge twice and it wasn't about basketball, you are basically telling fans and the media that you're smart, they're dumb, and how could anyone ever question the all-knowing Doc Rivers? Then he'll show you that smile, and most of you will say "oh man, I love Doc, even if he isn't perfect." 

Boston fans thought that the car-salesman/season ticket holder was lying when he tweeted about the trade and the details, but he wasn't lying. If anyone in this whole scenario acted like an old-school lying car salesman, it was Doc Rivers, the most overrated coach and executive in the NBA, a man that has lied aplenty to advance his career. Doc said he "bleeds green" in 2011, and two years later he was out the door to coach for the biggest racist (Donald Sterling) in sports simply because he had a good roster. How can fans believe a thing this guy says (Clippers fans included). Remember this article when Griffin is eventually traded. 

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