Doc Rivers May Be the Most Versatile Head Coach in the NBA

Jack WindhamAnalyst INovember 25, 2010

Doc Rivers
Doc RiversChristian Petersen/Getty Images

When comparing greatness, coaches believe that you're labelled as great if you can beat the other team with your players and beat your own team with their players.

Doc Rivers may be one of those guys that can do that.

Championships don't determine the true abilities of a coach. There are so many variables involved. Versatility determines the true abilities of a coach. Winning a championship with great players is one thing, but it also takes a great coach to be able to get the most out of a team that is not filled with great talent.

Rivers has done that.

During the 1999 season, Rivers won the Coach of the Year award. He didn't get the trophy because he led a team to the championship. Rather, he won the award because he led a team that was widely picked to finish last and got them within sniffing distance of the playoffs.

That Orlando Magic team that Rivers coached was not filled with superstars. In fact, guys like Darrell Armstrong and Bo Outlaw were the stars of the team. Neither were exactly threats to take spots on the All-Star teams. The team also had Ben Wallace, but that was well before he became a dominating defensive center. The team overachieved that season because of heart and hustle, two things which Rivers instilled in the unit.

Rivers has also been able to do well with a talent-laden team. When you're in that situation, you need to be able to massage egos and figure out schemes to keep everyone happy. Not only did Rivers manage to keep superstars like Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett satisfied, but he also was able to speed along the developmental process for younger guys like Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, Leon Powe, Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins.

To be on both sides of the spectrum and find success at it, means that you're quite the versatile coach.