Doc Rivers actually wasn't considered a great coach seven summers ago. His rotations always seemed out of whack, his X's and O's never seemed all that impressive. The one thing he was known for was an ability to motivate. (In time, those other facets would come to the surface, whether he developed them or merely had the talent to reveal he had them.) And in his first meeting with Clippers All-Star Chris Paul after signing on as his new head coach, that motivation began immediately. From Yahoo Sports:
"As professional athletes, you always want someone to push you and motivate you," Paul said. "The first meeting I had with Doc, he pretty much told me I wasn't anything. He told me I hadn't done anything in this league, and he was right. You don't always want somebody that's going to tell you what you want to hear."
Paul flourished in New Orleans under a similarly tough approach from Byron Scott. And honestly, at this point, he needs the motivation. He's cemented himself as the best point guard in the league to a degree where he has little left to accomplish on a personal level. MVP is unlikely with LeBron James still breathing, his All-Star and All-NBA nods are locks. But quietly (far more quietly than it has been with Carmelo Anthony), there's been the murmurin of critics who question why Paul has never advanced past the second round, why he's only won two playoff series in his career.
With new superteams like Houston, you have to expect there to be growing pains, time for adjustment. But the core of this Clippers roster, outside of new additions J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, have played together. There should be no "Well, we've got a few years." If Paul is going to win a title in the era between the end of LeBron's dominance and the start of Kevin Durant's, he's going to have to make his move now.
Whether that means being more aggressive or not saving his body as much and risking injury remains to be seen. But the Clippers appear on the surface to be ready to make a big move for it all this year.