Hollins: Rivers will be perfect fit in LA

Hollins: Rivers will be perfect fit in LA
June 26, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Ryan Hollins knows both Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers well. He played under Rivers with the Celtics in 2012 and was a member of the Clippers last season. When Hollins heard Rivers became the new head coach of the Clippers on Tuesday, his reaction was immediately positive.

“That is great,” he told CSNNE.com in a telephone interview Wednesday. “He gets the opportunity to come to LA in a large market and bring that tradition, that culture, that experience, all those things that young players and experienced veterans will perceive.”

Hollins believes the Clippers are “getting the full package” from Rivers, who was traded in exchange for a 2015 unprotected first round pick. He has seen Rivers shine as a coach in the postseason crunch — the Celtics advanced to Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat during Hollins’ time on the team.

“He is so instrumental in (pursuing a championship) because it’s all about a plan and approach,” said Hollins. “He bridges that gap between player and coach and understands what’s needed. It’s almost like he has a formula to win that he knows that makes sense. He has a knack to be able to see the game and the things he needs to win.”

The 28-year-old center cites Rivers’ attention to detail and coaching mentality as keys that will help the Clippers move forward in their hunt for a championship. (They were eliminated in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies this season.) He believes the entire team will learn from Rivers, whether they are rookies or deep into their NBA careers.

“I think he will fit in perfect,” said Hollins. “Doc’s not going to come in and be this tyrant or overbearing guy. He’s going to come in and work with players and he finds a way to get the best out of them. Even in the short amount of time (I played in Boston) he helped my career. “

He continued, “Doc’s going to sharpen up the little things. We call them little things for a reason – they are little things – but the little things are the fine-tune elements that make you a championship-type team, that make you go on a long run in the playoffs.”

While Hollins hasn’t spoken to all of the Clippers about Rivers, he says there “shouldn’t be any question marks with Doc.” A season after playing under him, Hollins still finds himself often referencing Doc-isms.

“It’s funny, I played with guys like (Ryan) Gomes and Al Jefferson and even years after being with Doc, they raved about him,” he said. “I didn’t understand it but I thought he must be a good guy. Then I played for him and I find myself saying the same things those guys did. There’s always a Doc story, I’m relating everything back to him. He’s just that type of guy that you have so much respect for him that you can’t help but bring up a story or a lesson that he taught you.”

Hollins is a free agent this summer and understands the business aspect of the game when it comes to his next contract. While the Los Angeles native wants to see where things go this offseason, he would consider playing for Rivers in his hometown a dream of his.

“That," he said, "almost sounds too good to be true.” 

In the meantime, Hollins hopes Celtics fans continue to support Rivers the way they did during his tenure in Boston.

“They really, really are first class, some of the greatest fans in the world,” said Hollins. “Unfortunately there’s a business side of things and I hope they continue to respect and love Doc for what he gave him. I hope there’s no bad blood there, there’s no misunderstanding. …  He gave everything to that city. He’s still got a family so he’s got to take care of them and I know it’s really probably paining him to leave Boston, but those are some really amazing fans and I personally appreciate them. If I could just give a message, it’s Doc is really personable type guy and a strong individual. (I hope) that fans love him and appreciate him.”