Doc Rivers: My Time with the Clippers 'Helped Change That Franchise'

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMarch 27, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers' Doc Rivers, left, talks to Blake Griffin, center, and Chris Paul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers will face the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center on Saturday night for the first time since he was fired last year.

The distance has given the coach a chance to reflect on his seven years in Southern California, and it's hard for him to be too upset with his legacy there.

"My stint with the Clippers, I really believe helped change that franchise," Rivers told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "When you hear that name now, you don't think bad things. You think good things. That was one of my goals, and the other goal was to win a title. So I was 1-for-2."

In 564 games, Rivers went 356-208 with L.A., making him both the winningest coach and the coach with the best winning percentage (.631) in franchise history.

For his part, Rivers seems at peace with how he left Los Angeles—despite the sting left behind from not winning a title. 

"I made a lot of friends there," Rivers said. "I made very few enemies. Hopefully none. ... I don't know if people understand that when you come to Staples Center, the same workers work both games. And so for me, that's what saying hi to all of them walking in today was fantastic."

The Clippers missed the playoffs just once under Rivers (2017-18) after making just four postseason appearances in the previous 20 years.

That the team never made it past the second round with Rivers may have been tough to look past, but it goes to show how much his arrival helped raise the standards around the organization, to say little of how his team became one of the hottest tickets in the league.

With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Lou Williams, Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan, the Dunk City Clippers were must-see basketball.

While that team has long been dismantled, its unquestionably one of the top highlights of the Clips' existence. That doesn't happen without Rivers.