Awards season hasn’t started in the NBA yet, but that hasn’t stopped the Clippers from earning some nominations.
Doc Rivers is one of five finalists for the 2018-19 Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which honors an NBA coach for his professionalism with the media and fans, as well as performance on the court.
Doc Rivers led his team to a 48-34 record during the 2019 season, which was much higher than analysts anticipated. The Clippers were predicted to win an average of 34.2 games, and their shocking season gave them the second highest expected win differential in the NBA. Despite trading Tobias Harris, who many argued was the team’s best player, LA made the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, they continued to defy expectations, and pushed the Golden State Warriors to six games. The biggest accomplishment of the season was Rivers’ ability to get the entire team to “buy in”, which enabled them to over-accomplish through selflessness and hard work.
Throughout the season, head coach Doc Rivers gave thorough insight to both media and fans. In an era where “next question” has become a dangerous sentiment, Doc Rivers has continued to answer every question, with poise.
The other four finalists are: Kenny Atkinson, Mike D’Antoni, Michael Malone, and Nate McMillan. Last year’s award winner was Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, a year in which Doc Rivers was also nominated. The award is named after Rudy Tomjanovich, a former Los Angeles Lakers coach who was known for being professional and respectful while dealing with the media. Hopefully winning this award is a prelude for Rivers winning Coach of the Year.
Give us your thoughts on how you would rate the 2018-19 season for head coach Doc Rivers. Was it his greatest coaching season ever? Where would you rank it in a top 3 seasons for him?