Doc Rivers is not only the head coach for the LA Clippers, but also the president of basketball operations to the Los Angeles team. He´s responsible for training-up his players as well as picking the players that will become a winning roster. He is known as a man to take risks and his history with such risks have very little return on their investment.
However, none of his intrepid judgement calls have measured up to his most recent one - signing his own son, Austin Rivers, to the team.
What Went Down
To rack-in Coach River’s son, Austin, the Clippers booted out 2013 first-round pick Reggie Bullock to the Suns and sent small forward, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and a 2017 second-round pick to the Celtics. Austin had already been traded earlier in that week to the Celtics from the Pelicans in a three-team trade.
Austin was a well-established college ball player. He suited up for one season at Duke and then headed into the NBA as the 10th overall pick in 2012, but after that, he has yet to find himself an identity in the big leagues. At first, he was expected to be a high-shooting, quick ball handling type of player. However, the time he spent with the Pelicans suggests otherwise.
In his 165 games with the Pelicans, he finished off with a low 38.7 field goal percentage and 28 percent from outside the three-point boundary, never scored over 7 points in a game and his Player Efficiency Rating has never even come close to the League Average (15). Not only that, Rivers hasn’t found a way to be a contributor on the floor. He doesn’t stack up well on defense, turns the ball over and tends to do very well in his position on the bench.
What was Coach Rivers thinking he’d gain here? (Besides having his son home for dinner every night) He acquired a horrible player at a much higher price than he should have taken on, and he didn’t accomplish filling out the small guard position he needed to make for a stronger defensive team. Now the Clippers have even less options for their wing position, and they are in dire need of a back up for Chris Paul’s point guard spot.
Don't let them fool you. Yes, the Clippers stand with an impressive 2nd ranked offensive efficiency, followed by teams like the Warriors, the Hawks and the Cavaliers. However, as the Western Conference title race gets tighter as the weeks move along, defensive efficiency will be a huge factor as well, and the Clippers come in ranked 18th.
The Clippers have a lighter schedule within the next couple of weeks facing off with teams like the Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz until they see the Spurs and Pelicans at the end of January. Could they be plotting another trade while they have some “fluff” games in their schedule? Only time will tell, but right now, what could be bold move looks a lot more like a bold mistake.
Clippers Odds to win the NBA Championship: 1200 (8th position)
Clippers Odds to win the Western Conference Title: 650 (5th position)