Doc Rivers believes that if special players get special treatment and their team wins, there’s no harm, no foul.
The former Clippers coach faced a lot of flak after details of preferential treatment to his stars emerged. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George had the privilege of being able to go to practices late, or get them rescheduled. They’d also monitor their own minutes and games and get their way with him.
Kawhi also had a long rope to go back home to San Diego before homestands. There was a clear hierarchy within the team as to who would be placated and pandered to the most.
Many NBA critics believe that such a locker room atmosphere was a huge reason why the Clippers got knocked out early. They believe that this kind of preferential treatment to certain players alienates their teammates. And they’re not without reason on this take.
Doc Rivers explain how Lakers succeeded despite special treatment for their stars
Doc Rivers admitted to there being preferential treatment within the Clippers organization. But he said the media had it backwards:
“A lot of it is true. There was special treatment, but what people don’t understand is I was the guy who didn’t like it and was fighting it.”
Rivers knew that allowances for Leonard might be problematic. But he underestimated how disjointed his locker room had become and how little his voice resonated with the veterans he believed he had strong relationships with.
Doc Rivers Claims He Fought Against Special Treatment For Kawhi Leonard, Paul George https://t.co/MiGrXe2NR8
— Apostle (@Apostleg180) December 24, 2020
“The goal on every team is to find a group of guys who have figured out how to win — or at least some of them,” Rivers says. “If they are the right ones, they don’t give a s— what anyone else does. They don’t get caught up in all the crap.
“The Lakers are a great example. Clearly LeBron and AD got different treatment, but the guys around them said, ‘Who cares? As long as we win.'”