Doc Rivers On “The Herd”
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. - Clippers head coach Doc Rivers appeared Thursday on Colin Cowherd’s “The Herd” on Fox Sports Radio discussing everything from his own playing days to his time with the Celtics to what happened this summer and what he expects from his current Clippers group.
Here’s some of what Rivers discussed.
- On the playoff run last season – “I look at this year with us, we ran out of gas during the playoffs. So I would say if anybody plays the Spurs in the first round, you go seven games like that…the winner of that series was probably going to be the loser in the long run, because it took everything out of them.”
- On any concerns about perimeter defense – “Well, I’m always concerned. We have to be a better defensive team. We were in the middle of the road last year. Now statistically, when you look at the second half of the year, if you just did that, we were in the top five or six. But you look at a whole season, and you are what you are through the season…For us to go where we want to go, and that is to win it…we have to be a better rebounding team, and we have to be a better defensive team…I do think we've improved defensively, because I think Lance (Stephenson) can play and really play defense.”
- On DeAndre Jordan almost becoming a Maverick – “Well, I got word pretty quickly, you know. The first night was a bad night. I thought I had lost DJ…I was disappointed, you know…I was disappointed because DJ and I have -- we don't have a good relationship, we have an amazing relationship. And for me, it just felt like, you know, I just lost a son that was leaving me.”
Rivers said he’s yet to talk to or see Mavericks owner Mark Cuban since Jordan’s decision, and he wasn’t happy with Jordan’s agent because he didn’t believe his agent cared about Jordan returning to Los Angeles.
“DJ decided, you know what I love about this, DJ woke up I think the next morning or two and realized, ‘I made a mistake, I haven't signed anything,’” Rivers said. “I thought…you need to get in touch with DJ, and that was hard because I didn't know if I should or could or, you know, that's -- that was murky, that little period. And finally, we talked, and it was clear that DJ wanted to come back.”
- On criticism – “You don't luck into winning, and that's the one thing I have always known as a player and as a coach. I think people think winning is a lot easier than what winning is. Winning one NBA game is hard. Winning an NBA title is nearly impossible.”
- On giving veterans time to rest and limiting practice time going back to his days in Boston – “I just think it's important. I think it all depends on the team you have. You have an older team, you need to understand it's a long season. With that group, we were thinking about playing for a long time. Also, they were experiencing things that even though I played, they're on the floor. You have to trust that group. A guy like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, you can trust them if they should practice or not. But you learn early on, don't ask Kevin, because he was going to say, ‘Yes, let's practice,’ every stinkin' time. Kevin could be dying in the locker room after the game, and if you'd say, ‘What do you guys think, on or off?’ He'd always say, ‘On.’ So I realized, not a good guy to ask. So you went to Ray and Paul on things like that. You asked Kevin a lot of other things about team building and things like that.”
- On his up and down relationship with Rajon Rondo – “We had tons of arguments. We had blowups, more at practice. Games were pretty good. You know, Rondo is as smart a player and as smart of a person I’ve ever been around…I don’t think people get that. You’re going to deal with difficult people, and sometimes the more successful they are and the smarter they are, the more difficult they can be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them and work together.”
Rivers said Rondo was both smart and emotional, but he added that he appreciated Rondo’s talent all of the time and they’re as close as ever right now.
“We talk a ton,” Rivers said. “You know, it’s funny, people don’t see other sides of Rondo. My mom passed this summer. I’m walking into the wake, and who’s standing there but Rondo and his wife. So, you know, there’s so many good sides to him, as well. Every time I see that side, I think I’m glad I went through the bad stuff, because I could have given up. I could have done what you said, ‘Well, forget this, this is over.’ He’s not a guy that you should give up on.”