LA Clippers head coach, Doc Rivers, has expressed concerns over a premature return to team practice facilities.
In a recent interview with The Athletic’s David Aldridge on the ‘Hoops, Adjacent’ podcast, LA Clippers head coach, Doc Rivers, commented on reports that NBA practice facilities would be able to open their doors to players beginning May 8th.
“I’m not smart enough to know what this virus is or does. We do know it affects most people when they’re in a group setting, and it doesn’t affect you at all when you’re by yourself. You know? We already know that. Listen, I’m not young (58), but I guess I’m young enough … I don’t know. Would I say I do it without fear? Of course not. You’ve got to have some fear in all this … until (there’s a vaccine), no one can tell me they’re going to do anything and feel comfortable doing it. I just don’t know how we get there.”
The caveat to any return of course being that governmental restrictions allow for it. However, as the state of California proceeds with its reopening plan, the NBA could see its California-based teams opening facilities to players and coaches as soon as next week Friday. Allowing for a total of six assistant coaches/player development personnel now able to supervise individual’s workout; no more than four at one time, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Clippers could see activity ramping up as soon as next Wednesday, May 13th, according to Doc Rivers in the same ‘Hoops, Adjacent’ podcast. While their across-the-hall rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, are currently targeting May 16th as their return date.
Rivers very clearly has reservations about returning to in-person practices any time soon, though. Noting that the Clippers will be missing important members of their own staff because it simply would not be safe to have them present. Assistant coach Armond Hill being one of those staff members who could be severely affected by a viral infection, as he’s of advanced age. Rivers saying, “He would be one of the guys that’s doing it. But he’s not going to do it. And he’s upset. He wants to go work. And I said, ‘well, I understand that. But we’re not going to let you do it. We just can’t. I can’t live with that.”
The situation will be difficult to work through no matter how you look at it, and making sure that everyone involved remains physically healthy is of course the foremost concern for all parties. But in times like these, it’s especially important to keep peoples’ mental health in mind, and Doc is doing his best to stay on top of that, too. Noting that a number of their players are experiencing their own personal challenges on top of everything else that’s going on. Some of them recently independent rookies who don’t know how to cook (obviously not referring to Terance Mann) and just broke up with their girlfriends before the pandemic broke out. One player even stuck living in a hotel room because he was traded and didn’t have time to make arrangements (bummer, Mook).
“They’re dealing with real live stuff. So we have to make sure, mental-health wise, that we stay in communication with all these guys.” – Doc Rivers, via the ‘Hoops, Adjacent’ podcast
As dreary as everything may be, it’s good that people like Doc are treating this situation with the utmost care. That’s exactly how everything should be approached right now. So in that respect, this is all encouraging to hear. If you love your team, as all Clippers fans do, you want to have someone like Doc making decisions.
Unless you enjoy seeing Ivica Zubac get minutes in the fourth quarter of a game–then maybe you don’t love Doc making decisions.
Be well, stay safe, and stay healthy.