Which former Boston Celtics coach got snubbed from B/R’s Top 10 coaches list?

The Boston Celtics have won 17 championships, which is (unfortunately) tied for the most in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. To win that many titles, you of course have to have great players. No team gets to that point without the talent. Championship teams also need to have a great head coach leading the way.

Throughout their storied history the Celtics have had some legendary coaches. Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Doc Rivers, you can even include Brad Stevens. Ime Udoka is proving to be pretty great too but he’s only had the job for one season. There’d be some slight gun-jumping to put him amongst the greats.

This morning, Bleacher Report put out a list of it’s top 10 coaches of the modern NBA. Writer Zach Buckley only listed coaches who were active from the 2000-01 NBA season on. He named 15 total coaches, five of which were honorable mentions. Of the 15 mentioned, two had been at the helm for the Cs.

Buckley had Stevens amongst his honorable mentions, writing:

“Before Stevens jumped from the Boston Celtics’ sideline into their front office, he wowed with his on-court schematics and player development. While he couldn’t quite help the Shamrocks break through and win the big one, he did take them to three Eastern Conference finals in four years.”

Stevens did a remarkable amount with the talent that he had. In his early seasons, Stevens got the most out of a group that could be described as bunch of misfits. Led by Isaiah Thomas in 2016-17, he got the C’s to their first Eastern Conference Finals since 2012. The argument can only be made that a Stevens led Celtics team underachieved two times during his tenure, during the infamous 2018-19 season as well as the 2020-21 season.

The man who did crack the top 10 for Boston was Doc Rivers, who came in at number five. Buckley justified Doc’s top-five spot, saying:

“In Rivers’ first season as an NBA head coach (1999-00), he took home the Coach of the Year trophy. Now, that doesn’t factor into this ranking, since it lands just outside of our study size, but it goes to show he’s a natural on the sideline.

He is a clear and direct communicator, and that has allowed him to connect with his locker room, even as he has changed locker rooms four times since 2000. But there are reasons players follow his lead. Reasons like: the 14 playoff trips he has led in the last 15 years; the 2008 title he delivered to the Boston Celtics; the 2010 conference championship he secured in Boston; the 16 postseason series wins he has overseen since 2008.

He is, simply put, a winner. He is one of 10 NBA coaches with 1,000-plus career victories, and his .510 playoff winning percentage ranks fifth-best among that uber-exclusive group. He might have a few rough patches on his resume, and his teams haven’t always maximized their potential on the biggest stage, but his track record is mostly tremendous.”

Rivers helped Boston take home Banner 17 in 2008 and the fanbase is forever thankful for that. Doc still gets a nice round of applause anytime he brings a visiting team to the Garden. While Stevens might be best known for overachieving, Doc may get the opposite reputation. He coached the “Big Three” to a title in their first year as a unit, but never got back to the mountain top.

Rivers came close in 2010 but Boston lost a heartbreaking Game 7 in Los Angeles for Kobe Bryant’s final championship series. It’s a shame that a core with that much talent only won one title.