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Doc Rivers second-guesses Jason Kidd’s use of Paul Pierce

Dec 10, 2013, 5:52 PM EDT

Doc Rivers, Jason Kidd

NBA coaches comprise a fraternity. Many coaches like each other after years of working in the same field. Even the ones who dislike each other share an understanding of the responsibilities and pressures of this incredibly demanding job.

That’s why it’s incredibly rare for a coach to publically criticize one of his peers, even if the critique is mild.

But Doc Rivers is so loyal to Paul Pierce, the Clippers coach crossed that line and second-guessed Nets coach Jason Kidd.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Rivers predicted that Pierce will play “another three years,” despite his early struggles.

“He can score anywhere,” Rivers said. “I think he was more uncomfortable with the short minutes that they were (playing him), like they did with Kevin. And that’s not Paul. Paul doesn’t work under those type of minutes—at least, in my opinion he doesn’t. He’s a guy that needs a rhythm to play. In Kevin’s case, on a 20-minute restriction, of course his numbers are going to be down. So I think at some point, he probably is going to have to play more minutes to improve, so he can get a better rhythm himself.”

All these months later, and Rivers is still Pierce and Garnett’s most passionate defender, his respect and affection coming through in every observation.

You can see how strange this was, because Rivers immediately offered the “at least, in my opinion” caveat.

Obviously, Rivers’ primary reason for speaking out was his fondness for Pierce. But I wonder whether another factor, consciously or subconsciously, affected Rivers. Lawrence Frank, publically humiliated by Kidd, was previously an assistant on Rivers’ staff. Does Rivers harbor any resentment toward Kidd for Frank was handled?

Regardless of Rivers’ motivation, the numbers don’t support his case. In five games Pierce has played fewer than 30 minutes – excluding the Houston game, when Pierce left with a broken hand –  he’s scoring more points per minute and on a higher field-goal percentage than in the eight games he played at least 30 minutes.

Kidd gets a lot of flack, most of it deserved, but I think this is one shot than doesn’t land.

  1. asimonetti88 - Dec 10, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Rivers spends more time talking about Pierce and Garnett than he does talking about his own team.

  2. csilojohnson - Dec 10, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    man crush

  3. timberwolvesbrisin - Dec 10, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Doc rivers is overrated.

    • mogogo1 - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      Possibly. But he’s won a lot of games and Jason Kidd couldn’t coach his team to a win at the local Y.

      • matthewatrombley - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:16 PM

        Jason Kidd coached his team to a win tonight. Against the division leaders.

      • zerole00 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

        Which sounds nicer than it is when you consider the Celtics are in almost full rebuild mode and the Nets are paying $80 million more for their roster with the tax included.

  4. lawrinson20 - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Pretty low bar, if that’s what constitutes an ‘egregious act of criticizing a fellow coach.’
    Another non-story. Interweb media is just desperate and pathetic at times.

  5. madtolive5 - Dec 10, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Pretty sure he is crossing that line because he has a close relationship with Frank.

  6. hoops45 - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    As a head coach of the Nets, Lawrence Frank tied the all NBA worst record for wins, only 12 wins out of 82 games. Can the media get over it as if it was Van Gundy, Thibs or Rivers was demoted. Frank earned his demotion because of subordination to his boss, end of story!

    • onlyavoice - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Can’t see why anyone would Thumbs Down.
      You forgot to mention Detroit, where the players wanted him gone after the 1st season & then his public demands to management (FIRED)
      Frank is a nut case

  7. 1historian - Dec 10, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Prediction – the Celts will get into the lottery because this early season thing won’t last – they’re still too young, and the way they’re playing right now I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Nets get into the lottery, except for the fact that the Celts have their 1st rd. pick and there is the possibility that the Celts will have 2 lottery picks in what is being called one of the deepest drafts in years.

    Unless they get it going the Nets are screwed, and for a long time, because the Celts have 3 of their next 5 1st rd picks

    • matthewatrombley - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      Actually, the Celtics have the lesser of the Nets and Hawks pick in the upcoming draft. So it probably won’t be a lottery pick, as the Nets are too talented not to make the playoffs (they’ll either fire Kidd, or he’ll turn it around, but Prokhorov has already put too much money into this to let it continue), and the Hawks are a veteran team that looks to be in the middle to bottom of the playoff picture in a weak Eastern Conference. The Nets won’t be title contenders, but just like the Knicks, they’re too talented to stay this bad.

      • matthewatrombley - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:23 PM

        The C’s pick will be in the lottery, though, as they will not sustain this pace (they’re still under .500, remember), and will probably be trading Humphries and Bass, they will try to trade Gerald Wallace, and they MIGHT still trade Rondo before the deadline (probably not until the off-season, though).

  8. cscamp20 - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    KG and Paul are not complaining. they seem to be happy and have issues with their limited playing time. So what is the deal here! Tell Doc to worry about his Clippers. I think he still hoped he still coached these guys. Maybe he wants to to be an assistant on the team so he can be with these guys again. The head assistant spot is available

  9. antistratfordian - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    So Rivers is basically saying that Paul Pierce should retire.

  10. ravenswhat - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Critiquing Kidd’s coaching is akin to critiquing shaq’s free throw shooting. It’s just too easy.

    • 1historian - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Agreed, but if he lasts Kidd MUST get better as a coach, whereas Shaq never got better w/free throws.

  11. chefjon81 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    Rivers should shut up about other teams’ personnel and focus on his own squad.

  12. onlyavoice - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Overrated Rivers took a shot at Kidd because Kidd demoted Frank
    to Coloring Books & Crayons (Kidd Humiliated Frank Publicly)
    Frank had it coming.
    As for Pierce, last season he shot a lot of bricks, all game long, so throw out the assumption that he needs to get warmed up.
    After last nights game (Nets Beat Celts) I was thinking that Pierce & maybe KG needs to come off the bench, but I don’t think their egos could handle that (Iverson mentality)

  13. flash8910 - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Per dictionary.com:

    peer, noun
    a person who is equal to another in abilities, qualifications, age, background, and social status.


    OK, I am not Rivers biggest fan, in fact I think he is highly overrated as coach. Having said that, Kidd is still not his peer by the definition.

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