This week, our NBA.com staff ranked the best coaches in the NBA.
The list was topped by Erik Spoelstra, who led the Miami Heat in an unexpected trip to the Finals.
There are very few gripes to have with the list - it's filled with the best coaches the league has to offer - but there was one glaring omission that feels a bit odd: Doc Rivers didn't crack the top 10.
Rivers fell just outside the top 10 in a group that included the likes of Billy Donovan, Taylor Jenkins, Terry Stotts and Monty Williams. No disrespect to that group of good coaches, Rivers is just in another class.
Among active coaches in the NBA, only Gregg Popovich (1,891) has coached more games than Rivers (1,624). Rivers holds a 58.1 winning percentage in those games, which is better than five of the coaches who cracked the top 10 ahead of him. Rivers is also one of eight active coaches to have won an NBA title as a head coach - four of the coaches who made the list have never even made the Finals.
So why didn't he make the list? Was it recency bias? The lasting images of the LA Clippers' earlier-than-expected elimination in the playoffs certainly didn't help. But does that mean Doc slides outside of the 10 best coaches in the league completely? Shouldn't his body of work matter?
When you look at what Rivers has done as a head coach throughout his career, it's pretty impressive. In his first season as a head coach in the NBA, he led an Orlando Magic team to within one game of a playoff spot. His best player and leading scorer on the team? A 31-year-old Darrell Armstrong.
Once he got some talent - Tracy McGrady and, to a lesser extent, Grant Hill - he had the Magic a perennial playoff team.
When he arrived in Boston, the team was floundering in mediocrity. By his fourth season, he helped end the team's 21 championship-less season drought and restored the Celtics prideful brand across the league.
His most recent stint in LA with the Clippers might have been some of his best work yet. While he was never able to get them over the hump with a championship, Rivers helped make the Clippers relevant. He finished his time with the Clippers with a winning percentage of 63.1 through seven seasons - no other Clippers coach comes close to that. He took them to the postseason six times, they had only been nine times before as a franchise.
Doc is the best coach in Clippers history and it's not even close. If anyone deserves a pass for the way they got eliminated in the bubble, it's him. There was no way he could've coached through Kawhi Leonard and Paul George having the worst games they could possibly have in a Game 7. Still, we can't ignore the 3-1 disasters that he was the bench boss for.
That certainly should play a part in talking about his legacy, but even with those failures, he still should've cracked the top 10 list.
Doc Rivers is one of the best 10 coaches in the NBA. It's why front-offices continue to trust him with their teams. We should too.
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