Despite coaching the upstart Clippers to a surprising 48-34 record, and guiding them to the playoffs in an extremely competitive Western Conference, Doc Rivers fell short of winning the Coach of the Year award, finishing 2nd to Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer. Doc received 13 1st place votes, 36 2nd place votes, and 27 3rd place votes, putting him on 76 ballots, and a well deserved runner-up.
Doc, one of the winningest coaches in NBA history, had one of his most critically acclaimed coaching performances this season, pushing all the right buttons for the Clippers and getting them to play hard every night. He played young guys and helped them grow, kept his veterans happy, and managed rotations smartly. Bud was a fully deserving winner for turning the Bucks from also-rans into NBA Finals contenders, but it’s good that Doc ended up a finalist for this award.
In addition to Doc, quite a few other Clippers lost out on awards. Montrezl Harrell, of course, finished behind Lou Williams for 6th Man of the Year, and also placed 7th in Most Improved Player with two 2nd place votes and two 3rd place votes. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander placed 6th in Rookie of the Year voting with seven 3rd place votes, Garrett Temple finished 7th in the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, Pat Beverley received a single 3rd place vote for Defensive Player of the Year, and Danilo Gallinari got a single 3rd place vote for Most Improved Player. Shout out to all the Clippers who got some voting for awards, and especially to Doc and Trez, who were so crucial to the Clippers success this season.