What Doc Rivers Should Write in His First Book

Daniel LockeContributor IAugust 4, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Head coach Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics speaks during a pregame news conference before taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Doc Rivers, NBA veteran and NBA Champion coach (2007-2008 season) should write a first book and should write it now.  The coach most similar to Doc that is coaching in the NBA right now has written five books, so why shouldn't Doc Rivers write his first?  

Doc Rivers as a coach should write about what he knows best, and his incredible coaching career has highlighted what makes him a great coach:  emotional intelligence.  He may have the single highest EQ (emotional quotient, similar to intelligence quotient) of any coach in the league, and he certainly equals Phil Jackson in that area.  

His top three coaching achievements in order are 1) Guiding the team through a disastrous 24-58 2006-2007 regular season, 2) Leading his team to the NBA Finals as a four-seed in 2010, and 3) Winning it all in the 2007-2008 season.  

First off, I agree the greatest historical achievement will forever be the championship. Nothing compares to a championship, and the ring gives him instant inclusion in any circle of NBA people.  But his greatest task as a coach was not leading a group of savvy veterans against strong teams to two NBA Finals appearances, but his holding the Celtics together through their longest losing streak in franchise history and keeping Paul Pierce's loyalty.

His first chapter should be about what he did that season to keep Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kendrick Perkins believing in him.  That is his true achievement.  We won't know what he said on the late-night flights, on the bus trips, and in the locker room.  But it was there that the seeds of greatness were planted by Doc Rivers, on a lonely bus trip in the middle of a then-NBA record 18-game losing streak.  

Many have already forgotten how the Boston media, and in particular ESPN's Bill Simmons, belittled Doc Rivers and shrilly called for him to be fired.  But the team never quit on him.  LeBron James quit on Mike Brown and Coach Brown was fired.  A team quits on a coach and inevitably the coach is fired.  No coach can survive a team that quits on him. 

And Doc Rivers endured the worst losing streak in NBA history and emerged with a core of players that stuck with him ardently, a core of players that was rewarded with a spiritual leader in Kevin Garnett and, one year later, a championship parade.  

They survived the blistering Boston media and rallied around their coach who was the foundation and yet had no idea what was in their future.  

It turns out, greatness was. 

A chapter of his book should be devoted to his quotes.  Read them carefully and you will see a man who is humble, self-aware, and yet completely confident in his method and in his credibility.  My current favorite is his response to a question about Kendrick Perkins' technical foul trouble in the playoffs: "I'm a typical guy, I can point out the problem but I don't have a solution."

That quote shows his humility, by sincerely labeling himself a "typical person."  It shows he is self-aware, just to make a statement like that.  And it shows he is confident, because in the NBA, it is near suicide to admit that one is unsure and not boldly arrogant.

The closing chapter will be a veritable post-mortem of NBA legacies.  I want to impress onto you that we are watching a great coach in his prime. His crowning achievement, the 2007-2008 championship, came at the expense of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, plus it blew up the Pistons' dynasty (the team was dismantled after the loss to the Celtics).  His recent playoff run has subsequently led to the dismantling of the Cleveland Cavaliers mini-dynasty (by forcing LeBron to leave) and it nearly toppled Kobe Bryant's legacy. 

And I will be the first to say that, if the Celtics beat the Miami Heat in the 2010-2011 playoffs, Erik Spoelstra will add his name to the final chapter of coaches who couldn't match his emotional intelligence.