top of page
  • Jack Fleming

Doc Rivers — Coaching and Crisis Management

Coaching U Live 2018 clinic notes by Head Coach of the Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers. So raw and emotional, the best NBA coaching stories you’ll hear, something you should purchase and experience for yourself.

  • Conflict coaching and all the things you have to deal with.

  • I played with Dennis Rodman, he was great. To coach him would not have been easy.

  • I have coached Rajon Rondo, Rasheed Wallace — a lot of different personalities.


  • The key to everything.

  • Last year for the first time I had a player who refused to come out of the game — how do you handle that?

  • 6 minutes left, I have 2 timeouts left. I thought I want to win this game.

  • We are paying him $35 million, we will deal with this later. Nobody ever knew about that.

  • My job is to move guys forward. You have to go with your gut, there is not always a right answer.


  • The hardest thing I have ever had to deal with.

  • After game 1 vs GSW: I thought two things.

(1) My god they are good.

(2) We had been mentally blocked. Draymond Green mentally dominated us.

  • I decided before the next game I was going to get into it with Draymond Green, because I thought my team needed somebody to stand up.

  • I ripped into Draymond when he went to trash talk Blake and said not tonight. We both got a tech, he was yelling at me. But I looked at Blake, and I knew that we had them.

  • Sometimes you have to trust your instinct and react.

  • Between game 3 and game 4 our Director of Basketball Operations tells me I need to see this video of Donald Sterling. I’m pissed, I’m shocked and it all in the middle of the first round of the playoffs.

  • Staring at myself in the mirror before our players meeting deciding what to wear.

  • If you don’t think every little thing matters in coaching, you’re nuts. What you wear, how you say hello in the morning — it all matters.

  • What we find in coaching, is that there’s times when there is no training. Sometimes you get lucky too.

Meeting With The Players

  • I’ve been around racism, my house was burned down when I was a player in San Antonio in an act of racism. My dogs were killed, my possessions all gone.

ONCE VOICE: when you have a team crisis you have to take command, it better be one voice and it better be unified. We’re all in this together and this is the message we are bringing.
  • “I'm going to do what you guys want to do. Whatever you ask, allow me to be your voice. Let’s decide what we’re going to say.”

  • Why would you allow Donald Sterling to take you away from your biggest dream, a chance to win the world championship?

  • Everybody who is outside the room has an opinion, they want you to take the most drastic act — because they don’t have any skin in the game.

  • Game 7 before we go to shoot around — we have an employee walk out. All the employees were going to quit. President of Basketball Ops went missing. I was picking t-shirt and music and everything.

  • It had to be done, there was no one there.

My Son

  • People don’t understand all the other stuff you go through in life and coaching.

  • I had to trade my son last week, you know how hard that was. Where is that in the coaching manual?

  • The hardest but greatest call in my life. Austin was the adult in that scenario. I was emotional, he was mature.

  • “We did something that has never been done in NBA history, a father coached his son and maybe we can create that for somebody else.”

  • Every night Austin showed up he knew the Head Coach had his back, because he was his dad.

  • If you can get every player to feel that way, you will be successful.

  • To build that is WORK, you have to be able to open yourself up.

  • You will get your heart broken sometimes. You can’t get tainted by it.

Pat Riley

  • Touched me in an emotional way.

  • In my 9th year in the NBA, he made me want to follow him.

  • He creates agenda’s, he makes you want to achieve that goal.

  • Sell your team on reality, be honest enough to tell the truth.

  • My job is to try and figure out something they don’t think they can reach, and stretch them a little further.


  • My first year in the league, ESPN ranked top 300 players. We didn’t have one player ranked in there.

  • I challenged them to be pissed off at that, we put that article up in our locker room.

  • I tell my players, I’m going to make every decision about winning.

  • That may not always be good for you.

  • I’m going to make mistakes, but it’s going to come from us winning.

  • I have no problem admitting mine, as long as you have no problem telling me when you make one.

Play Calling Sheet

  • 16 after time out plays, including 4 BLOB’s.

  • I rank them in order for the team we’re playing.

  • Every timeout I’m reordering my ATO’s for late in the game.

  • Bill Belichick: do you ever feel like every free throw and time out is a huddle? Execution is that important to me. You have to sell how serious it is.

  • We ran a play against Philly, that we beat them on in the same game the year before.

  • Ray Allen — coach I swear we can run the same play. I didn’t believe them, but I trusted.


  • Stress is a great thing, embrace those moments. Don’t run from it.

  • You as a coach set the tone for the level of anxiety, watch yourself.

  • Trust yourself, that you know what your players need for right now.

  • Chris Paul talks a lot — I told him: you are not allowed to talk to our players, you are not allowed to talk to the referees and you are not allowed to talk to our players. Just be a basketball player. That was in his best game in a very long time.

The Clippers

  • I told management we are taking the Laker banners down when we play here.

  • I want to try and create a legacy. Not for me. For the Clippers franchise.

  • Create traditions, that is where it begins.

15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page