According to an SI poll of 134 NBA players, Doc Rivers is the coach that players want to play for the most. Here are the numbers:
Which coach would you like to play for the...
DOC RIVERS, CELTICS 22%
MIKE D'ANTONI 21%
GREGG POPOVICH, SPURS 16%
RICK CARLISLE, MAVERICKS 6%
RICK ADELMAN, T-WOLVES 5%
STAN VAN GUNDY, MAGIC 22%
SCOTT SKILES, BUCKS 14%
BYRON SCOTT, CAVALIERS 9%
FLIP SAUNDERS 6%
MIKE D'ANTONI 4%
The active coach with the best winning percentage, the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau (.767), was sixth (4%) on the most list.... The Pistons' Lawrence Frank and the Lakers' Mike Brown also received 4% of the least vote.... Saunders was fired by the Wizards (for whom he was 51--130) on Jan. 24; D'Antoni resigned from the Knicks (121--167) on March 14.... Van Gundy also finished eighth (3%) on the most list. Rivers didn't receive a single least vote.
This doesn't surprise me. He's widely renowned as one of the best x's and o's guys in the business, but more importantly, he's a players' coach. He overachieved as a player and knows what it takes to make it. My favorite quote about Doc is from Shaq:
I'm going to call Doc an ebonic Phil Jackson. And what I mean by that is Phil Jackson has his Buddha ways, but Doc got his homeboy ways because he was once one of us and he really relates to us very well. I think the guys respect him for that. You know, he treats us like men. He only expects one thing from us: Do what he says and play hard.
I've beat this drum before but let this serve as a recruitment travelogue for future NBA free agents: the Boston winters are tough but we have the best pass-first point guard in the game in Rondo and the best coach in the game in Doc. Have your people give Danny a call. Oh, and Danny's not too shabby either.