Doc is in L.A. and Clippers feeling good
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
As Doc Rivers watched the introductory press conference of his new-look Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, his role as the team’s chemistry teacher had already begun.
He was worried that newly re-signed point guard Chris Paul would field all the questions from the news media, and that new additions J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison wouldn’t feel like they belonged or that returnees Matt Barnes and Ryan Hollins would be ignored.
This is what Rivers did so well during his time with the Boston Celtics — managing the team dynamic, juggling egos and building a unified spirit during those nine seasons that came to an end last month. And the media, strangely enough, set the tone on this day for a team that expects to be a force.
“Everybody got interviewed at the same time,” Rivers told USA TODAY Sports by phone afterward. “And you know what’s funny is that the questions were about even. I thought that was great, but it surprised me. I was concerned going into it that every question would go to Chris. Shoot, everybody was asked about an even amount of questions.
“Having all those guys on the stage, and understanding that Chris is the key guy on stage today but they’re all key to us winning, I thought that was very important. None of them are going to do it alone, and doing it as a group is what we have to do to be good.”
So how good can these Clippers be? “I know what I think we can be, and I think that we have a realistic chance of being the winner at the end of the year,” Rivers said.
If the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs reminded their contemporaries of anything during their respective runs to the NBA Finals, it’s that reaching that stage is never as simple as collecting stars and watching talent win out. Togetherness and a singular focus are paramount, and so it was that the Clippers did the most unorthodox of deals (Rivers for a 2015 first-round pick) to bring a coach into their program who understands that as well as … [For more on Doc is in Los Angeles, and Clippers feeling good, click here.]