Doc Rivers doesn’t want the Clippers minds being filled with stats at halftime
LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers knows what he’s doing. A title-winning coach with the Boston Celtics in 2008, Rivers has made his way in the NBA as a high-level professional and is now leading a team with two superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
One of the title favorites for when the league is positioned to resume in July, Rivers may have to shake some things up when the team gets to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Things like off-court chemistry will matter more.
A principled person, though, the general framework of how Rivers handles his team and his role should stay relatively the same.
Rivers recently joined Pete Carroll and Steve Kerr on the Flying Coach Podcast to talk about his upbringing, racial inequality, and his role as a coach in the NBA.
One of the things he talked about is his ban on stat sheets in the locker room.
Doc Rivers talks about stat sheets and cell phones in the locker room
Doc Rivers knows that stats can often cloud a player’s mind and their confidence. If a player goes 1-for-10 in the first half, there’s a good chance they may enter the second half with dampened belief in their abilities to score.
To counter this, Rivers doesn’t allow stat sheets in the locker room, but players still find a way around it.
“Now, when you come into halftime, you see guys on their cell phones looking at stats. Because I don’t allow stat sheets in the locker room. So, they’re looking at stats or they’re talking to their agents or to their wives,” Rivers said.
It’s a stark contrast to how things were when Rivers played.
“When I walked in the locker room as a player, that was it. I didn’t hear from anyone on the outside. It was my coach — Mike Fratello at the time when I was a rookie — and the players. Now, when you walk in the locker room, up until 35 is on the clock, most guys — or not most, I would say the majority of guys — at some point they’re going to pick up their cell phones and look at it,” Rivers said.
Some might ask, why not just put a ban on cell phones, too, if players are getting fed bad information through them?
It’s simply not that simple coaching a professional sports team.
Steve Kerr contributed with his thoughts on a cell phone ban, saying:
“It’s interesting, too, because you have to decide as a coach in the modern era, ‘am I going to be the coach that says no phones?’ You know? Am I going to be that guy? The old school guy? Like, ‘hey! no phones!’ Because it’s really unrealistic so you’ve got to give them some leeway, so I just try to use some humor with it, you know I know they’re going to be on their phones but I’ll just walk in like, ‘hey fire off your last Tweets! We’ve got to meet.’ You know, something just to shame them a little bit, so they kind of realize, ‘oh yeah, it’s kind of game time,'” Kerr said.
Kerr said he didn’t think a cell phone ban would go over well in the NBA.
Rivers agreed firmly that a cellphone ban simply wouldn’t work. “I’m talking to grown men that have kids now,” he said.
While it might help keep some of the bad social media influence out during halftime, ruling with an iron fist is hardly effective in the NBA. In fact, we can look to Jim Boylen, the current head coach of the Chicago Bulls, for proof. Boylen brought in a time clock to the Bulls practice facility for players to punch in and out of during practices.
The idea makes sense, it’s about accountability. But if it’s going to only further the players from the coaching staff, it surely won’t lead to wins. Boylen’s 39-84 record since taking over as head coach in Chicago speaks to that.