Doc Rivers is arguably the NBA’s most overrated coach. He rode the coattails of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen to a 2008 championship and has used that title for clout ever since.
Now, it appears a former hoops star has an issue with him.
Gilbert Arenas has become an opinionated personality within the sports media landscape. From blasting Frank Vogel to chiming in on the Ben Simmons trade saga, Arenas has made his presence known within that world. And recently, he discussed his thoughts on Rivers as a head coach.
Arenas had a lot to say about the Philadelphia 76ers‘ leading man.
Gilbert Arenas warned the 76ers against hiring Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers’ name has floated around as a potential candidate to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Rivers is still with the Sixers, but it appears the Lakers are still hoping he becomes available.
However, Gilbert Arenas doesn’t think hiring the 2008 NBA champion would be a good move.
“I think I’m gonna be a Clipper fan if Doc Rivers is gonna [become] head coach of the Lakers,” Arenas said on the May 26 episode of his No Chill with Gilbert Arenas podcast. “… It’s those gimme championships that solidify some of these coaches, and I be like, ‘Well, wait, hold on. He was a losing coach before you gave him rockstars. And then he won a championship; now, his legacy is built on a championship.’ … After he won a championship, what did he do after that? Nothing. What has he done since then? Nothing.”
Arenas pointed out how Rivers — who lost in the conference semifinals with Philly this season — has had significant talent on all his teams since 2008 but has yet to do anything with it. He then revealed what he told 76ers general manager Elton Brand before the team hired Rivers in 2020.
“I said, ‘Doc is gonna ruin that team. And Ben Simmons is gonna be out of there because he doesn’t know how to coach him,’” Arenas said. “… I said, ‘He’s gonna ruin the team; he’s gonna ruin a team, and Ben’s gonna be out of there.’ And that’s exactly what happened.”
Assessing Doc Rivers’ underwhelming coaching resume
Is Gilbert Arenas’ assessment of Doc Rivers correct? He may have been a bit harsh. Rivers is a good coach, but he’s not great and is easily the league’s most overrated.
After the Celtics added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to a team with Paul Pierce in 2007, Rivers reached two NBA Finals in five seasons with Boston between 2007-08 and 2011-12. The Cs also won it all during that first season.
However, he hasn’t made it past the conference semifinals once outside of those five years and has only made it further than the first round five times. In fact, his overall playoff record is 104-100. Without those five seasons on his resume, it would be 50-61. That’s not even considering the fact he is the only coach in NBA history to blow three series in which his team led 3-1.
Is Doc Rivers a good coach? Yes. His teams are almost always in the playoffs. Is he a legend? Far from it.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference