Doc Rivers knows expectations for Clippers
by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Clippers called it a culture change, a great day in club history, a precursor to a championship.
But Doc Rivers, clad in a casual, open-collared shirt and asking everyone to call him “just Doc,” called it “an opportunity” and wowed everyone not with his championship pedigree but his humility.
“This ‘best coach’ thing, we have to stop saying that,” Rivers said Tuesday when he was introduced to the L.A. media as the new coach of the Clippers. “I’m not that smart yet. I just finished watching the Finals; I wasn’t in it. Neither were the Clippers.”
But that is clearly the expectation of the franchise now that they have pried Rivers away from the Boston Celtics, whom Rivers led to the 2008 NBA title, for a 2015 first-round draft pick.
Rivers, 51, is under contract for three years at $7 million, and also carries the title of senior vice president of basketball operations.
“This is truly one of the greatest moments in Clippers history,” said Gary Sacks, the Clippers’ vice president of basketball operations. “We feel he’s the best coach in the NBA, and perfect for this organization.”
The Clippers, led by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, won a franchise-record 56 games last year and won their first division title in club history but were eliminated by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs and fired coach Vinny Del Negro.
“At this point in my life, that’s the only reason I’m coaching, to try to win titles,” Rivers said. “We have to prove we can win a series first.
“The reason I wanted this job when it was made available is because of what they had. I think they are an extremely talented team. At times last year, they were the best team. The question now is can we do it in the postseason?”