Wanna be an NBA coach? (we're lookin' at YOU Metta) ... well, you might wanna follow the Doc Rivers plan on how to bond with your players.
Step #1 -- Restaurant meetings.
Doc tells TMZ Sports he takes all of his players out to 1-on-1 meals at nice restaurants ... and despite the fact most of his players make WAY more money than he does, Doc always foots the bill.
In fact, we spotted Doc out on a restaurant meeting with Blake Griffin earlier this week -- and judging by the way they man-hugged on the way out, seems like it went well.