Apr 19, 2012, 10:36 AM EDT
Across the board, players say they like playing for coaches who once played in the NBA. It’s not a requirement, but players feel it gives the coach an understanding of what they go through.
So it shouldn’t be a shock that Doc Rivers tops Sports Illustrated’s annual poll of players on the question of coach they most want to play for. Here is the top five:
Doc Rivers, (22 percent), Mike D’Antonio (21), Gregg Popovich (16), Rick Carlisle (6), Rick Adelman (5).
A bunch of Knicks fans just rolled their eyes at D’Antoni being on the list, but he has always been popular with players not named Carmelo. First, he’s a laid-back coach who expects professional players to push themselves and hold each other accountable — you know, be professionals. That just didn’t work for the Knicks. D’Antoni’s up-tempo, free flowing offensive system is a draw to most players.
As for the coach players least want to play for…
Stan Van Gundy “wins” at 22 percent. Scott Skiles is second at 16 percent.
Notice the theme there — guys perceived as being very negative. Well, not perceived, they both tend to be negative. In SVG’s case he also gets wins so he will keep getting jobs even when the Magic force him out this summer, but players don’t love him. And he’s probably fine with that.
- Phil Jackson says Knicks wanted Goran Dragic at trade deadline. Because he’s such a triangle fit? 15
- Report: Cavaliers sign Matthew Dellavedova 8
- Heat trade Zoran Dragic, second-rounder to Celtics 11
- Report: Cavaliers trade Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller, two second-round picks to Portland 17
- Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry among latest big names headed to Team USA mini-camp 8
- Kyrie Irving off crutches, cleared by doctors to start working out 8
- Report: Becky Hammon gaining traction around the NBA as “serious” head-coaching candidate 43
- Gregg Popovich discusses three-point shot, changing roles for bigs in NBA 4