Rumor: Clippers players questioned Doc Rivers’ coaching decisions vs. Nuggets
The Clippers blew double-digit leads in the second half of both Gam 5 and Game 6, and the collapse was complete when stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were held scoreless in the fourth quarter of Game 7.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there were also some questions regarding Doc Rivers’ coaching decisions:
Several players had underwhelming postseason performances. Head coach Doc Rivers had several strategic decisions that left players scratching their heads, such as the decision not to ride a bigger lineup against Nikola Jokic, choosing rotations that did not prioritize more minutes for JaMychal Green and various defensive adjustments. The team also never came together in terms of chemistry or camaraderie inside the bubble. These are all things Rivers and the Clippers will sift through for the entire offseason and into an unknown start date to next season.
Chemistry did seem to be an issue, considering reports George and Montrezl Harrell got into it during Game 2 of the Nuggets series. The Clippers never seemed to truly jell all season, for a variety of reasons.
Interestingly enough, Harrell — who just won Sixth Man of the Year — saw his minutes significantly dwindle. Green’s minutes also decreased even though he appeared to be the best replacement for Maurice Harkless as a 3-and-D wing in bigger lineups or even a small-ball center.
Meanwhile, Ivica Zubac’s minutes increased, though some thought he should have played even more given Jokic’s destruction of Harrell. Joakim Noah didn’t get an opportunity against Jokic.
LA’s stunning defeat has led some to speculate whether Rivers will remain as head coach. There are no indications ownership will move on from Rivers, though it seems the team has a number of internal matters to address heading into next year.