While Doc Rivers was a great basketball player with a long and fruitful professional career, he is probably best known as one of the most respected NBA head coaches ever. As a 6’4″ point guard, he was honed as a playmaker and a floor general, which served him well in his second career as an NBA coach. He can see plays develop before they happen and knows how to put players in positions where they can succeed.
Nowadays, he’s a seasoned and highly respected NBA head coach with championship aspirations year after year. So, how many rings does Doc Rivers have?
Doc River’s NBA Career Overview
Glenn Rivers or as he’s more commonly called “Doc” was a former NBA point guard who played 13 seasons in the league. First for the Atlanta Hawks and then moved on to the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and San Antonio Spurs in the twilight of his playing career. Since retiring as a player, he continued to be involved in basketball first as an analyst and then later as a head coach.
Rivers was a high school standout from Chicago who knew from the start that basketball was his calling. As a young hooper, he won numerous awards including the prestigious Mr. Basketball USA in 1980. He was also named to the McDonald’s All-American Team which was a nod to his elite-level basketball skills.
As a result of his performances, colleges were eager to recruit the young Doc Rivers into their program. Ultimately, he would choose to go to Marquette University, where he would play some of the best basketball from a Marquette product which would later result in the school retiring his jersey.
He was drafted in 1983 by the Atlanta Hawks. He would remain with the Hawks, contributing as the team’s primary point guard for eight productive years. With the Hawks, Rivers would become a solid playmaker who even averaged 10 assists per game in one season.
In 1988, he would even win a slot in the NBA All-Star game after a career year that saw him average 14.2 points and 9.6 assists per game. However, his basketball career would peak there as there was a steady decline in his performance from then on. As a veteran, he bounced around the league, becoming more of a mentor to younger point guards rather than the primary option. So, when he decided to retire in 1996, he already had most of what it took to become a great head coach.
After a brief hiatus, Rivers came back to basketball, this time as a head coach.
Is Doc Rivers a Good Coach?
Doc Rivers is beyond good as a coach. He was a winner right from the start, which wasn’t something that can be said about his playing career. He took an Orlando Magic team that was expected to be in the last place in the Eastern Conference to 9th place finish, barely missing the playoffs. As a result, he became one of the few rookie NBA Head Coaches to win a Coach of the Year Award.
However, the organizational dysfunction in Orlando and the injuries sustained by the team’s stars made it near impossible to win, even with a coaching star like Rivers. So, the Magic fired Rivers to make room for a rebuild.
In 2004, the Boston Celtics would come knocking on Rivers’ door and ask him to be their head coach. Despite already being a playoff team, The Celtics were struggling to win in the off-season in the post-Larry Bird era.
Under the tutelage of Doc Rivers, the Celtics would become an Eastern Conference powerhouse with high playoff berths year after year. They would even win a championship together. However, after winning the championship in 2008, the realization that the aging stars of the Celtics could no longer carry the franchise, the front office would start to rebuild from scratch. The team’s core players like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen would all be traded away for draft picks and young talent.
He would later on find more regular season success with other teams, such as the Los Angeles Clippers, where he coached another trio of stars in Chris Paul, Deandre Jordan, and Blake Griffin. Much like the Doc Rivers Celtics Big 3, there were also high expectations for the coach and the Clippers. However, despite some regular season and playoff success, the team would not win a championship.
After his stint with the Clippers, Rivers would move on to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he would have the opportunity to coach young stars like Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and James Harden.
Did Doc Rivers Win a Championship as a Player?
Doc Rivers was a solid point guard but was never considered a player you could build a franchise around. During his peak, he averaged 13.5 points, 9.7 assists, and 4.1 rebounds, playing at least 80 games from 1986-1989. He made it to one All-Star game during that stretch (1988) but never won any awards or accolades from his peers.
Despite having a lot of success during the regular season and putting up numbers worthy of being called an “All-Star caliber” point guard – which is saying something considering how many great point guards there have been over time – Doc Rivers has never won an NBA championship as a player.
However, his experience as a floor general would later prove a great background for his head coaching career as he needed court vision and creativity to do the job well.
How Many Championships Does Doc River Have as a Coach?
Rivers won one NBA Championship as a head coach with the Boston Celtics. Initially, he tried to do it with just Paul Pierce as the centerpiece, the Celtics would try to build a winning team with Rivers at the helm. However, in the first two years of the Pierce-Rivers experiment, the Celtics wouldn’t even make it to the playoffs. It was only when management made moves to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen that the team started to show signs of life.
Rivers, together with what was dubbed as the Big 3, won the NBA Championship in their first year together in 2008. This win over the franchise’s ultimate rivals in the Lakers, would cement Doc River’s legacy as one of the best coaches ever.
However, that would be the only championship ring that the Big 3 would win together as they would be thwarted by the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009 and by the Lakers in the historic NBA Finals rematch in 2010.
3 Interesting Facts About Doc Rivers
1. Only NBA head coach to coach his son – Doc Rivers’ son, Austin Rivers, signed with the Clippers as an unrestricted free agent 2015.
History in LA! Doc Rivers and Austin Rivers become first father/son, coach/player duo to play together in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/b8b24WsYOY
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 17, 2015
2. Only head coach who won Head Coach of the Year without making playoffs that year – When the Orlando Magic pulled Rivers out of retirement and onto the head coaching chair, they rolled the dice on the inexperienced former player. However, their risk paid off. Rivers won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award in 2000, but his team missed the playoffs by one game.
3. His contract with the Boston Celtics was part of a trade package that included draft picks – When the Celtics realized that the Big 3 era had come to an end, they decided to let go of Rivers’ contract and trade it for some draft picks with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Rings Does Doc Rivers Have?
Doc Rivers has just one championship ring. He won the NBA Finals in 2008 as head coach of the Boston Celtics. The team defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games to win their 17th title as a franchise.
However, how many rings does Doc Rivers have as a coach doesn’t exactly paint the whole picture of his coaching prowess. He knew how to rack up the wins in the regular season with a coaching record of 356-208 with the Clippers and a 416-305 record with the Boston Celtics.
So, despite having just one ring, he’s still among the most respected coaches in the NBA. And from the looks of it, he’s certainly not going to change his winning ways any time soon.
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