Doc Rivers as the next Olympic coach for USA? It would be a welcome sight for C’s fans who know more than anyone just how capable Rivers is of coaching and managing stars. With Mike Krzyzewski reportedly stepping down from an incredibly successful tenure as head coach in the coming year, there has already been plenty of buzz about who would replace Coach K at the helm. While Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich appears to be the favorite at this point, Rivers appears to be a candidate in the conversation according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
With Mike Krzyzewski making it clear that he believes it’s time to end his long association with Team USA, there’s a near-unanimous feeling in basketball circles that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would be the logical replacement to coach the team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro. But a person briefed on internal discussions regarding Coach K’s successor told CBSSports.com that another high-level NBA coach shouldn’t be ruled out: Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Rivers was in London for the Olympics as a studio analyst for NBC Sports, and he made his presence felt around the team — staying in the team hotel and eating meals with the players. During the Celtics’ run of success during the now-crumbling Big Three era, Rivers forged strong relationships with some of the biggest stars in the game — many of whom will still be with Team USA in Rio. Also, there’s a feeling among some involved in Team USA that Rivers’ personality and skilled handling of star egos would provide a more natural transition.
“With Doc, I think it would keep the same chemistry going,” one person briefed on the matter said. “If Pop comes in, he would want his own way of doing it — kind of the Spurs’ secretive way of doing things — and out of Jerry’s norm.”
Obviously, there’s plenty of time for a decision to be made before the 2016 Olympics, but the team will start putting together a squad soon for the 2014 World Championship, so expect a coach to be put in place sometime this summer, assuming Coach K steps down. Will Rivers be that guy? I wouldn’t bet money against it at this point, although the case can certainly be made that Pop’s offensive system may be a better fit than Rivers. However, with the right batch of assistants, that might not be issue.
All in all, it will be interesting to see how it plays out.