As part of their NBA Preview series, the esteemed Ian Thomsen got some great quotes from Doc and Danny. Please go read the whole thing as Ian does as good a job as any, but I wanted to steal the quotes and give my two cents after each.
"I told our guys enough of the talk," said coach Doc Rivers. "The other teams should be chosen in front of us. Miami went to the Finals last year, and Chicago played them in the Eastern finals. So they should pick those guys in front of us. It doesn't matter, but it's fine by me."
Funny how a team that boasts 4 guys that were in the All Star game last year has to resort to an "us against the world" mentality before the season even begins, but if it helps them win, I'm all for it.
"I think that we'll know more a month or so into the season," conceded Ainge.
He was talking about how well the team will play but he might as well have been referencing what additional moves he might be able to make this year. I get the feeling that he's itching to do something before the summer and all he needs are the right dancing partners. Don't rule out a mid-season deal - especially as teams fall out of contention early.
"We want Paul to be more aggressive for sure," he said. "That's on us. I thought we went away from Paul too much, and I didn't think we treated Paul as our best offensive player at times. The ball movement was great, but sometimes the ball movement never touched Paul's hands. So, to me, that's on our staff."
I love how Doc is spinning this. Taking the blame but challenging his players (including Paul) in the same breath.
"I've never gotten into this whole post thing," Rivers said. "If he hasn't done it in 15 years, what makes us think he's going to start being a guy that's going to post 30 times [per game] this year? I want him to score points. To me, a two is a two -- whether it's from the post or the elbow. I'll take either one."
Nothing to add here. Just glad that he said it. Can we put it to rest now?
"I think this season for every team will come down to mental toughness. Young, old, it doesn't matter. Someone's going to go through a stretch where it's going to be so hard, and all they're going to hear from all the media is you've got eight games in 15 days, and somebody's going to take the bait and they're go to get their ass kicked. And then someone [else] is going to be strong enough to say we've got to win all 10 games.
"I told our guys, whenever the [back-to-back-to-back] comes, our thought has to be we're winning all three."
Translation: No excuses and no "flipping off the switch" when the road gets bumpy late in the year. Doc has a tough job of keeping everyone rested and healthy without letting them dial it down and lose their edge. Blame injuries all you want for last year's slide, but there were times when we had more talent on the court and didn't get the W because they weren't executing sharply.
It is going to be an interesting year to say the least.