The Los Angeles Clippers’ Lob City era remains their biggest “what if” moment in franchise history. Led by prime Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, JJ Redick, Glen Davis, and Matt Barnes, many assumed that this team was poised to win a championship. However, in typical Clippers fashion, the Lob City years went to waste after the team collapsed for two straight years.
Davis throws Rivers under the bus
According to Davis, who followed Rivers to the Clippers after their tenure with the Boston Celtics, the head coach was why the team fell apart in the first place. Big Baby feels that Rivers didn’t make an effort to bring the team together, nor did he hold the superstars accountable. Basically, Davis said that Rivers failed miserably to lead the lob city team during their years together.
“First of all, I’m going to start with the coach and that was our president at that time — Doc. I think it started with him holding everybody accountable, especially your stars. I think he did some really really crazy things. First of all, he tried to create Boston again I feel like in a way and these guys weren’t those guys. You expect them to be those players [in Boston] but there were not. So you gotta handle these guys differently, you know what I mean? I just think he lost us. He lost us at that time.”
Big Bay went on to explain the team would have periods of bad communication with the coach. That's something that should never happen, particularly if you're aiming to win the Larry O'Brien trophy.
“Now, you’re not getting your players in accord. Really making them sit out and talk. Really making them like ‘Yo let’s get this s**t done’ and I don’t think he did that. We didn’t respond in ways because now our leader is in miscommunication with getting the message out from the coach. So now there’s so much misdirection and just crazy s**t going all around, it just blew up,” David said in his recent appearance at the All The Smoke podcast.
Does Doc deserve all the blame?
The problem coaches face is that they’re always going to be the first scapegoat when the team fails, especially as the Lob City Clippers did. Rivers, who won a championship independent from the Clippers, may have been part of the problem, but he wasn’t the number-one reason the Clippers choked.
It’s essential to also distribute the blame to Paul (who has a history of choking in the playoffs), Jordan, Griffin, and the rest of the team for being part of one of the greatest failures in the history of the NBA.
Nevertheless, Rivers’ mistake was trying to turn the Lob City Clippers into the 2008 Celtics. For a coach who is known as a “player coach,” it’s surprising to hear about his inability to control the locker room and form a team culture and identity. What’s worse is that this is also precisely what happened to the Clippers in 2020, when Rivers was also at the helm.