There's been a lot of discussion, media circulation, etc. about the state of Doc Rivers contract wishes going into next season.
For my part, here's my opinion:
Doc's record -
As head coach of the Magic, Doc amassed an overall coaching record of 171-168 over 4 plus seasons. He also won Coach of the Year in his first season there.
As head coach of the Celtics, to date, Doc has amassed an overall record of 100-136 in just under 3 seasons. Doc led the team to the Atlantic Division title his first season with the C's in 04-05.
By this Celtic fans math, that puts him at 33 wins below .500 for his career. Even if you remove this seasons record to date, probably citing all the injuries that have plagued the team this season, he still went into the season with a 78-86 record for his Celtics tenure, thus far.
Is this the best we can do? Relegating ourselves to giving a contract extension to a coach who has seen some successes over his career, but has largely remained right around average for results?
Doc wants at least another year so that he's not coaching under the "Lame Duck" label. He wants some security, but does he deserve it? What's he done here thus far that justifies granting the request?
In almost 3 seasons with the Celtics, he has one winning season and the Celtics got bounced by Indiana in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Since that time, it would be generous to call us mediocre, particularly given the overall lack of strength in the paltry Atlantic Division. The 2005-06 season didn't have nearly the injury situation that this one did and we still only managed to capture 33 wins, despite the fact that Paul Pierce had a career statistical season.
But let's forget numbers for a minute and just take what we've individually garnered from these seasons. With more than 3 decades of basketball experience and knowledge and 12 years covering the Celtics on-line, I regularly fail to comprehend Doc's in-game decision making and player moves. Maybe I'm too high strung about the matter, but when I spend more time cursing at the coaching moves and lack of fundamentally sound play being exhibited by the Celtics than I do enjoying the game, I think it's safe to call the situation disheartening.
Doc is saying what he needs to say right now. From a business standpoint, he's simply got to say he wants an extension and try to justify the reason for it. It's a means of throwing out the immediate reason for this seasons failures to mask an overall problem with his coaching. His recent media spin ensures he'll be able to leave the Celtics in a publically positive manner and probably resume work in broadcasting.
However, not wanting to be a "lame duck coach" just isn't going to cut it from my perspective. Let's face it, he's not in a John Carroll situation. Carroll accepted the position as a stop gap measure after O'Brien resigned and was doomed to fail from the start. He only needed ride out the storm until the end of the season. There were zero expectations put on him and he lived up to those expectations.
All indications are that Doc hasn't disagreed with the personel moves that Ainge has made to the roster. So if he's getting the personel he wants, where are the results? Why is this franchise still going in the wrong direction?
Why are the majority of his actions so grossly incoherent to the Celtic fan base? The Celtic fan base can easily be labeled impatient and been deemed to have overly-lofty standards of excellence. However, it isn't easily labeled "unknowledgeable about basketball".
If so many are discontented, the team is in the proverbial toilet and the franchise continues to be marginalized on the overall NBA stage, why would an extension be forthcoming?
Doc came into the situation with open eyes and with full disclosure. He's largely failed in most aspects of coaching. Celtics overall record over his tenure is sub-par. In the areas of defense and rebounding, all his Celtic teams remain at averages below thier opponents, while garnering increasingly significant turnover numbers.
What exactly are we supposed to be paying for? Does anyone really expect to Doc to turn this team around in two seasons? I'm just not seeing it happen. Thus far, Doc's record indicates that his best work is done in his first year and then continues to decline thereafter.
In fact, I firmly believe that providing Doc Rivers with an extension is the worst thing that could happen. Doc should have to coach out his last season on the hot seat. Why afford him the opportunity to feel comfortable? The rest of us live and work with stress and the unpredictable nature of corporate business, why shouldn't Doc?
I don't get a vote, but if I did, it would be for Doc either to finish out his last contract season with the understanding that achievement is the stuff that will provide future job security, or simply let him walk and go find a coach who doesn't seem to use all his best stuff up in the first season.