Over Doc Rivers’ two full seasons as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, he has amassed a record that any head coach would be proud of.
113 wins, 51 losses and two trips to the Western Conference semi-finals to add to an already impressive resume that includes a championship in Boston and a coach of the year award in Orlando.
However, despite all the brave faces this season, Rivers’ coaching seat is again under fire for a 6-7 start to the season.
Houston had just 11 games of patience for their now ex head coach Kevin McHale before he was fired.
One wonders, amidst all the trade speculation, accusations of poor game plans and “we’re not panicking” assertions, are Docs’ days as LA’s head coach numbered?
There is no doubt Doc Rivers has plenty of value as an NBA head coach. He managed to bring together the clashing personalities of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett for a 17th title in Boston.
For a team as stacked and experienced as the 2008 Boston Celtics were, Rivers worked fantastically as a man manager and motivator to help them over the line against the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, this only tells half the story, as only one losing trip back to the Finals with the big three highlights the missed opportunities in Boston post 2008.
The Clippers have been described as mentally weak by many, and while initial thought processes would be that Doc is the guy to remedy this, their playoff record clearly indicates that perhaps this team is just too young and inexperienced for Rivers to take any further.
So if the seemingly inevitable does take place and Doc Rivers loses his job, how best can he be replaced? Who out there is the right man to take this team to the next level?
The current head coach across town, Byron Scott has seen better days of coaching than his latest two stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Before his latest few jobs, Scott had seen plenty of success with the New Jersey Nets, taking them to the finals twice, and the New Orleans Hornets with current Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
It’s evident that the Cleveland and LA jobs were not the jobs for him.
However, when equipped with a star-studded team, such as the current Clippers outfit, he has seen proven success.
Scott is a noted defensive mastermind, which is one of the blots on Rivers’ play book.
However, he has never been a renowned offensive whiz, which is no doubt something LA would be looking for in a new head coach, given their reliance on isolation from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin down the stretch of games.
He’s also contracted across town for now. Given the merry-go-round that is a head coach's seat, that has never been a massive stumbling block, but still one that exists nonetheless.
At 73 years old, it’s hard to imagine Jerry Sloan standing on the sideline again, especially for anyone other than the Utah Jazz, but the Los Angeles Clippers may just have to be this ambitious.
Currently, Sloan is senior basketball adviser in Utah, working with players in the off-season and managing regional scouting.
At his age, it’s a pretty cushy job with the franchise he loves, meaning that if he even still has the spark to coach, it would take one hell of an offer to drag him out of Salt Lake City.
However, the lure is obvious. Sloan worked with a legendary point guard-power forward pairing in Utah, and ran close to the top offense in the league during the 90s.
He has been there, done that and has all the experience in the world short of winning the NBA championship, and would be the experienced head required in LA to get the Clippers to the next level.
It’s hard to imagine there could be a candidate older than Sloan on this list, but two years his senior is legendary head coach Larry Brown.
There are also not many men active in basketball nowadays with more experience than Sloan, but yet again, Larry Brown is that man.
Brown has had 13 different head coaching appointments in his time in basketball, 10 in the NBA and three in the NCAA. He is an ABA/NBA and NCAA champion, a five-time ABA/NBA and NCAA coach of the year, and a two-time all-star coach.
It’s fair to assume that Brown knows what it takes to win.
Unlike Sloan, at the ripe old age of 75, Brown still coaches the SMU Mustangs in the AAC. He last coached in the NBA in 2010, when he resigned from his duties with the Charlotte Bobcats.
On paper, this is the best shot to win a title Brown has had since his 2004 championship with Detroit. For a man who’s still clearly keen to coach, it is a mighty tempting offer.
Whether or not he would be interested in the stress and fanfare of an NBA hot seat again is another question.