It is amazing just how far Doc Rivers has come in the court of public opinion. Just 2 seasons ago Bill Simmons mock-fired Doc Rivers and most people on this site (myself included) nodded their heads (some more enthusiastically than others).
Now he's got a Championship ring and he's getting a whole lot of respect from the media and fans. Most importantly, he's got the respect of his players. Paul Flannery has an excellent article on Doc which includes this quote from Mikki Moore:
“Doc is a player’s coach,” Moore said. “He knows how to relate. Some coaches are just good X’s and O’s, but he’s good on both sides. He knows how to sit down and talk to you and let you know exactly what he thinks. And take your opinions. There’s nothing hidden. He’s not playing with your mind. I’ve been through all of that. It’s straight cut and dry. He lets you know how he feels. (He) respects your opinion, but this is what I need done. That’s what I like.”
One point I'd like to make. The players didn't start respecting Doc once the Big 3 got here and started winning games. Those that were around here for that horrible 24 win season should remember that while everyone outside the team was killing Doc, the players were still supportive of him. You didn't see the team fracture or bicker at each other the way some lottery teams do. They understood that they weren't a very good team (youth and injuries played a big role as well) and they worked on getting better. Doc had them focused and working hard, even when the results weren't there.
It's no secret that the media loves Doc Rivers as a person. He's genial, honest and, quite frankly, a quote machine. But in terms of job assessment, he hasn't gotten it done. No coach should ever lose 18 games in a row, period. Questionable rotations, lack of defined roles and a penchant for yelling at his players from the sidelines are the common citations from Doc detractors.
However, the fact that this team continued to play hard every night despite their misfortune, and that no player said a single incendiary word about Rivers, is part of the reason why the Celtics will give him at least a one-year extension on his contract. Doc worked hard to get the C's where they are, and he deserves to be at the helm next season. But beyond that? Let's see what he can do when there are no excuses left.
The biggest knock on Doc was his record. Once he got a solid team around him, he took care of business and won it all.
I flip flopped a lot on my opinion of Doc over the down years, but near the end I was ready to see him go. I'm glad Danny is in charge and not me because I was wrong about him. Say it with me, Doc Rivers is a really good coach and we are lucky to have him.