Doc Rivers recalled a story on Tuesday night when he realized that Nets coach Jacque Vaughn would be an NBA head coach one day.
The Sixers bench boss remembered a conversation he had with Vaughn back during the Nets coach’s playing days with the Orlando Magic. There had been one particular aspect of Vaughn’s game that Rivers noted that he knew instantly that Vaughn would one day run a team.
“Jacque’s one of those guys that you kind of knew, just certain guys honestly if you ask coaches there’s a layup he’s going to be a coach,” Rivers said. “Jacque was definitely at the top of that. I jokingly told him years ago, the worse you shoot, I was an awful shooter too, the better coach you become. So, Jacque, you’re gonna be one hell of a coach.”
That prophecy has seemed to come to fruition a bit with Vaughn in the midst of his second head coaching gig in the NBA. Vaughn had been given the job earlier this month and has been trying to right the ship after an ugly start to the season.
Vaughn had played for Rivers during the Nets coach’s lone season in Orlando as a player in 2002-03. Rivers noted back then that he could tell Vaughn had a keen eye for the game.
“His IQ and he just loved the game,” Rivers said. “He studied the game, he’s got the competative gene, so you just knew he was gonna be a coach. I want him to do well, sometimes.”
The Nets fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in their first visit to the City of Brotherly Love, but while the focus had been on Ben Simmons, Vaughn took time to recall what he learned from Rivers while playing under him.
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“Well he coached me in Orlando so I was able to see first-hand how he motivated his teams,” Vaughn said. “The strategy, the way he carried himself on a daily basis. As a player I was taking note of all those things. His relationship with Tracy at that time. How he dealt with Tracy, how he dealt with other guys on the staff, other guys as players, so taking that all in. He and I have always had a relationship along the way.
“Yes, he talked to me after I became the, interim tag was taken off. Always asks about my kids. Someone in this league that has done a lot and a lot well in the position of head coach.”