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Why isn’t Doc getting any love for Coach of the Year?

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) April 24, 2012 Uncategorized 11 Comments

Doc rivers arms crossed on the sidelinesThe Celtics are preparing to enter the playoffs as the Atlantic Division champion.  

That wasn't a sentence many people were preparing to write when the Celtics were a sub-.500 team before the All Star break.  The Celtics had been struggling for two months, looking as bad as they've ever looked in the Big 3 era.  Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were out of shape.  Pierce and Rajon Rondo missed time due to injury.  Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Wilcox, expected to help down low, were both lost for the season.  

It was a mess.

But Doc Rivers kept it all together.  He didn't panic when things were going poorly, he didn't celebrate too hard when the team started going well.  He made line up shifts when guys went down and stuck with them even when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen both said they weren't entirely thrilled with their new lots in life.   He is directly responsible for Avery Bradley's emergence because it was Doc who got Bradley to start making the back-door cuts that got him the confidence he needed to become a surprise scorer.

All the while, the Celtics put together one of the best post-All Star records in the league.  To me, it adds up to Doc Rivers warranting at least SOME consideration for Coach of the Year.  But in the few pieces being written so far about post-season awards, he hasn't even been mentioned.  

First up:  David Aldridge on NBA.com

THE WINNER: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio
RUNNER-UP: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago

THE OTHERS: Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City; Mike Brown, L.A. Lakers; Alvin Gentry, Phoenix

And then Ian Thomsen and Chris Mannix of SI

Top 3 (Thomsen)
Tom Thibodeau 
Mike Brown
Gregg Popovich

Top 3 (Mannix)
Gregg Popovich
Tom Thibodeau
Frank Vogel

I want to know what the hell Ian Thomsen is smoking.  Mike Brown… above Popovich AND no mention of Doc Rivers?  

I can see the arguments for all the names on there except for Mike Brown.  In fact, my vote for COY would probably go to Popovich, who has the Spurs currently tied for the best record in the NBA.  They did it without Manu Ginobili for a month and resting starters and sacrificing games at different points of the season.  If they win their last two games, they'd have their 3rd 10-game winning streak of the season.  That's amazing, and Pop has done an amazing job that deserves the award. 

Beyond Pop, I think Doc is right there with Tom Thibodeau.  Thibs, who won last year, kept the Bulls together without Derrick Rose for half the season.  It's not like they're stacked with superstars.  The Bulls win with defense, which is all thanks to the system Thibs installed.  If you picked Thibs over Doc, I could buy that argument.  If any of those three guys wins the award, I'd have a hard time arguing against it. 

I get why Alvin Gentry would be mentioned.  No one expected the Suns to be in a fight for the playoffs.  And Frank Vogel is doing a very nice job with the 3rd seeded Pacers.  But they don't rise above Doc Rivers. 

As for the Mike Brown mention… I don't get it.  Yes, the Lakers are the 3rd seed, but I think the top 3 reasons for that are Kobe, Kobe and Kobe.  Brown's had his full squad all season long and while he has dealt with some adversity in the locker room, it's mostly been part of the growing pain process of players not being happy with changes.  I'll give him credit for riding it out, but there's no way you can convince me that Mike Brown has done anything to merit a single vote for COY.  

Doc Rivers, on the other hand, has. Some of the local writers have mentioned how great a job he's done this season… but the national guys have yet to catch on, apparently.  Doc deserves some consideration for this award.  I don't think the Celtics get themselves into this position without him.

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f2d28d7970c BigMck

    National media doing what it does best… slighting the Celtics.

  • Mike5

    I don’t understand Mike Brown being mentioned. I’m assuming Kobe, Kobe because there’s no reason for Brown, to be mentioned and not Rivers or Collins, despite the Sixers off and on play.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    My Ballot would go…
    1. Pops: what he’s done pretty much speaks for itself, i dont have to explain this one one bit
    2. Doc: I have Doc over Thibs here primarily because of the coaching moves and adjustments he’s had to make. Moving KG to center, Ray to the Bench, dealing with the injuries to Green, JO, Wilcox etc.
    3. Thibs: prior history sets the precedent that no coach should win back to back awards, so as good as he’s been, he’s de-facto eliminated
    4. Tyrone Corbin: He’s got the Utah Jazz in the Playoffs, no one saw that coming; plus the outside the box thinking to go with the 3 big lineup with millsap at the 3 favors at the 4 and big al at the 5, that saved the season for them earns extra consideration from me
    Other Consideration: Lou Hollins, Alvin Gentry, Frank Vogel

  • http://profile.typepad.com/the_bantam the_bantam

    I dunno if it’s ‘always slighting the C’s’ BigMck, though it could be.
    I think it’s bigger, and slightly pessimistic for different reasons. The C’s are not much of a Hollywood story. They are old school, a team for a different generation of national media coverage. Most nat’l media outlets are so watered down, common denominator stories about tweets, pictures of yourself naked and publicly ripping your coach (yes you DH).
    Doc is not a drama story, he’s a good coach that doesn’t give sound bytes and has the respect of his players. The Big 3 have been around 40 collective years in the NBA. How many stories can you right? Especially about being a solid consistent contributor, not bitching and being a good teammate. Then again, I guess you could say the same about San Antonio, but having a celeb couple doesn’t hurt.
    The other nominees have young brash superstars, (Thibs) and wtf LA is always a reality show waiting to happen. So Doc and the C’s are victims of their success, their do it right, play as a team, have veteran leadership way of success.
    When are the C’s in the news? When Rondo is ‘about to be traded’ or is ‘mercurial’ or when Ray gets moved to the bench. This is why we read RedsArmy, to avoid most of that crap and talk hoops. KG’s season has been amazing, but apparently not national worthy along with AB’s emergence. Even Rondo’s assist streak was quiet compared to the ‘trade rumor’ crap.
    The way Doc figured out how to keep the front court competitive was the cherry on the season in my opinion.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redslovechild1 Redslovechild

    Why no love for Doc?
    -Boston easily has the worst record of any of the 6 division leaders
    -Boston would finish no better than 3rd in any other division
    -They were 16-17 at the half-way mark of the season
    -Credit for the second half revival is going to KG and Bradley
    -Celtics are still seen as a team waiting to get quickly eliminated by either MIA or CHI

  • Jason

    I like Doc and all, but c’mon guys, why the resurgence? Because many other factors besides Doc’s coaching preferences FORCED him to play these guys. The sinkhole he kept playing (JO) decided to quit. Greg was buried. Piece of crap JO was Doc’s starter. KG to center? Necessity, not a brilliant coaching decision. Bradley? Only because Ray was hurt and Dooling suuuuuucked. Why is Daniels still at the end of the bench? He’s still plenty talented. The team turned around because the crappy vets Doc kept wanting to play did us all a favor and forced Doc to FINALLY turn to some young blood, allow them some actual minutes to you know improve. And look how they have responded. Not a miracle. Very common for talented young’uns that just need experience. Something Doc has habitually denied young guys. I would go so far to say that Doc deserves almost zero credit for this turn around. If anything this proved how poorly he coached the first half of the season.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p01156f6f0b73970c Celticsfanatic

    I haven’t seen a list before this that Doc was absent of. Marc Stein has Doc third behind Thibs (2nd) and Pop, and JVG mentioned Doc among a select number of others behind Pop (his winner). To me it goes Thibs, Doc, Pop. Thibs dealt with a number of injuries just like Doc did, especially in his devastating backcourt where Derrick Rose was supposed to have a shot at defending his MVP title (no chance given his injuries) and Rip Hamilton was supposed to be an overwhelming upgrade over Keith Bogans but has had a shaky season as well due to his own injuries. Doc, no need for an explanation amongst fellow Celts fans. And finally, Pop may have not had to deal with as many injuries but his brilliance with Timmy Duncan and the Spurs unprecedentedly having the best record in the league have to land him in the top three.

  • http://GreenTeamers.com GreenTeamer34

    I agree w/ you Irish except I think I’d give the nod to Frank Vogel at the No. 4 spot. I thought Indy would be good, but not a 3 seed! He’s been pulling all the right strings for that team. It also baffles me that for some reason Indy is not considered a serious contender by the national media.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115704263ce970b Papa Irish

    Yea Vogel is right there, but i’d give Corbin the nod over Vogel. I think a lot of the Pacers success is attributed to having one of the deepest teams in the league in a lockout shortened year and not having to deal with any major injuries. The only real adversity he’s had to work through is Foster retiring.
    Corbin on the other hand, had a team with no real identity throughout the year, and you can directly point to multiple coaching moves he’s made as to reasons why are potentially the 8th seed

  • vivek

    more than fans the nba.com si.com writers are big bandwagoners. they write what is safe for them. i wont even include thibs in the coy. most of his crew were healthy except for rose. same can be said with pop. doc suffered so many injury related challenges.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/canonet Mathieu Canonet

    Guys, I’m a C’s fan but Pop is the right choice… everybody said that the spurs were washed up and they are FIRST… not the heat, mavs, lakers and thunder….the Spurs!!!
    Plus he should have gotten it a few more times so I don’t care if doc doesn’t have it. But pop should in my opinion.