Ranking top 10 NBA coaches: Where Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni lands

Anthony Duckett
Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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4. Doc Rivers-Los Angeles Clippers

Doc Rivers has been viewed as one of the best basketball minds in the league, as he’s never had a losing record since joining the Clippers in the offseason of 2013. In addition, Rivers has an NBA championship under his belt from his time coaching the Boston Celtics, and led the C’s to another NBA Finals appearance during the 2009-2010 season.

During his time in Los Angeles, the Clippers had former Rockets guard Chris Paul for four seasons and they made the playoffs in each of those four years. The Clips made it past the first round in two of those years despite reported tension and friction amongst the team. The one year the Clippers didn’t make the playoffs, they still posted a record of 42-40. That was during the 2017-2018 season in which the Clippers and Rockets got chippy during a game, prompting CP3 and the Rockets to go through a backdoor tunnel at Staples Center to confront the Clippers after the game.

Rivers was the only piece that stayed when the team decided to blow up the roster and send away CP3, Blake Griffin and fellow Houstonian DeAndre Jordan. It almost seemed as if it doesn’t matter who Doc Rivers has had on his team, as the Clippers also decided to trade away Tobias Harris this past season, who was by far the Clippers best player. Despite that, the Clippers still managed to win 48 games and earn a spot in the playoffs without having an All-Star. The Clippers took the Golden State Warriors to six game in the first round despite being significantly outmatched on paper.

The Clippers finished fifth in points per game this past season, and were led by former Rockets reserves Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, who were two of the team’s top three scorers on the year, not counting Harris, who was sent to the Philadelphia 76ers. The fact that the Clippers finished fifth in points per game yet didn’t have a single All-Star in genius on the part of Rivers. It’s especially even more brilliant considering the fact that the Clippers didn’t have a facilitator, as their point guard is former Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley, who isn’t known for his passing. Beverley is a tenacious defender who has to be set up for perfect looks offensively. Despite not having a true point guard or an All-Star on the roster, the Clippers averaged 115 points per game, thanks in part to Rivers’ great coaching.

Next: MDA