Coach Doc Rivers tells his players to âwin the waitâ
LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers says this pandemic makes you reevaluate and take a closer look at everything that you are doing.
Coach Doc Rivers tells his players to ‘win the wait’
REAL SPORTS SCENE - Anthony Suntay (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2020 - 12:00am

Doc Rivers is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA today. After winning a championship in 2008 with the Boston Celtics, he has continued to steer the LA Clippers to greater heights. With their off-season acquisitions, fans are hoping the long regarded “second team of LA” gets that elusive title.

Philippine STAR: Your thoughts on what’s happening at the moment.

Doc Rivers: Everyone keeps saying that this is the new normal, but this isn’t normal. We do two to three calls a week with all our coaches and we talk about everything. It is interesting when you get a 60-game report on your team. You can sit back and dissect your team and look at all the things that you did well, or that you didn’t do well or even that you should have done more. Now, we are actually at the point where we are going through each individual, match-up against each team in the West, at least where we are predicted as playoff opponents. There’s probably more work going into that than ever, probably every team is doing that.

What are you telling your players at this point? 

I don’t know if it makes you reevaluate, but it makes you take a deep look at everything that you are doing. Personally, I have had a lot of success and this team this year was having a lot of success. But this has been an interruption that we have never seen before. It is difficult because if the season starts back up, you have to know that it is not going to be normal. Whatever we decide, it is not going to be normal. So I am trying to get my guys to understand two things: that our goals haven’t changed and that we cannot use whatever happens when we come out of this, as the reason that we don’t win. We have to mentally prepare for something different, some strange, NCAA Tournament style, a three-game series, and those are just dangerous series — anyone can win those things — or a five-game series so you just have to be prepared for it and you are in the same mode. We use this phrase “Win the Wait” for our team. What I have done personally is that I have looked at more games that I have lost and then we look at the wins, because you learn a lot from the wins as well. But there is a lot of self-evaluation going on right now.

How will this break affect the team’s health? 

I don’t know the answer. I know Kawhi (Leonard) is working, I can guarantee you that. The difference is during the summer, Kawhi couldn’t work. Now, he’s got this break and he is able to train, so the Kawhi we will see will be in phenomenal shape. PG (Paul George) is another guy that will be in phenomenal shape. 

It’s funny, I talked to Kevin Garnett on the day he went into the Hall of Fame, we had a long talk, but one of the things he actually said was, “Man I can’t wait for the playoffs this year.” In typical KG fashion, “No excuses, no one should have any excuses. Everyone’s going to be healthy. Everyone’s going to be rested. I don’t want to hear any excuses.” He’s right. If we do get back to this, and you know rhythm and all that but, bodies won’t be sore, guys should be healthy. If we can get back to this and guys get their rhythm in time that will be the key. That would be the best played playoffs in history because of that.

What are the challenges you’ve encountered as a coach during this time? 

I know communication is important. It always has been and always will be. I’m really an introvert in a lot of ways. I’m a loner, and so for me, this has been difficult because I’ve had to not be that. Going online and doing these Zooms, calling and texting, that’s unnatural for me to do. Especially to the level that I’m doing it, but because we’re not in the gym together and we don’t spend those five and six hours together as a staff every day, I know it’s important that we do. Certain players need more communication. Some of these guys are young and at home alone. They just need to hear a voice, and a lot of times, it’s my voice, and so I’m trying to take that void for them.

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Follow me on twitter and Instagram @anthonysuntay.

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