Should Doc Rivers Coach Team USA in 2016?

by August 01, 2012

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers is at the Olympics doing some TV work, and Yahoo! Sports argues that he’d be the ideal candidate to replace Mike Krzyzewski as Team USA’s bench boss: “He’s come to London to work in the studio for NBC Sports on Olympic basketball, but his trip’s been an excuse to grab a notebook and visit Spain and Brazil and Argentina practices. He has a resumé with USA Basketball, including one job as a gold-medal assistant in the Goodwill Games. USA Basketball will be searching for a national team coach in 2016, and however the structure of Olympic basketball changes, Rivers is an ideal candidate. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich deserves the foremost consideration, but that will never happen with Jerry Colangelo running USA Basketball and Mike Krzyzewski staying on in some kind of emeritus role. It’s a shame, because Popovich has a peerless NBA and international coaching resumé. If a mutual distaste with Colangelo won’t allow Popovich the opportunity, Rivers deserves close examination. He’s the best coach for the traditional Olympic format of NBA stars, or the proposed under-23 change that could include his son, Austin Rivers. His son, the 10th overall pick of the New Orleans Hornets last month, is part of a late-teen generation of players the Celtics coach has watched grow and develop with Austin. ‘To represent your country is the absolute best honor,’ Rivers said, ‘and if you ever get the opportunity, it would be hard to turn down.’ Rivers still gets misty-eyed telling the stories of his national team memories as a player and coach, but does wonder how easily pro coaches who push deep into the NBA playoffs could prepare for a July training camp and Olympic Games. ‘In some ways, it’s easier for Mike [Krzyzewski],’ Rivers said. ‘He has a 30-game schedule.’ […] With Krzyzewski staying a part of the Olympic program, it will be fascinating to see whether he gives his blessing to the hiring of a college coach in 2016. What’s more, with the NBA wanting to further control how its players are used, the commissioner’s office also will have a say.”