Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US Presswire
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has done a great job despite all the injuries.Doc Rivers for Coach of the Year? Grantland's Bill Simmons makes the case for Rivers as part of a brief tangent from his MVP race column on Tuesday:
If anyone cared about the "Coach of the Year" award, and if the award hadn't been ruined by the inexplicable fact that Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan and Gregg Popovich only won it a combined TWO times, then we'd be arguing the merits of Popovich (an absolutely masterful job this season), Doc Rivers (kept the aging Celtics from imploding pre-trade deadline), Stan Van Gundy (dealt the single crappiest hand of any playoff coach and somehow didn't let the pathetic Dwight Saga derail Orlando), Tom Thibodeau (kept the Bulls humming without Rose), Lionel Hollins (kept the Grizzlies humming without Z-Bo), Ty Corbin (um, how are the Jazz a playoff team???) and Vinny Del Negro (just kidding). That's a much more competitive/fascinating/loaded race than the league's MVP race, but again … nobody cares. Too bad.
In the footnotes, he adds this on Rivers:
For the record, I'd vote for Doc. He lost Jeff Green, Jermaine O'Neal, Chris Wilcox AND Mickael Pietrus. Danny [Ainge] tried to trade his point guard right before the season. Everyone on the team thought they were being shipped out before the deadline — and for the record, they DID explore trading the Big 3, with [Paul] Pierce coming the closest to leaving (to New Jersey for a cheaper version of what the Nets ended up paying in their incomprehensible Gerald Wallace trade). And the Celtics kept coming. I still believe Doc did an awful job from 2005 through 2007 and nobody will ever convince me otherwise. He was passable in 2008 — just passable. He was better in 2009, and 2010 was excellent. By 2012, he's clearly one of the best two or three coaches we have. He's been amazing this season. It's like anything else — the more you do something, the better you get at it. He's a really good basketball coach.
Hop HERE to read the full column.