A lot of people complain that Doc cannot develop young players because he does not trust them and will not play them. I agree that Doc needs to let the kids get some minutes, especially during the regular season, if the Celtics lose 3-4 games they could have won because JJJ and Moore got to play 12-15 minutes so be it. That said, I don't think Doc's philosophy of earning minutes is wrong either. There is something to be said for forcing guys to learn the defensive rotations, learn the plays, take practice seriously and prove that they deserve the minutes. If you just hand a young guy minutes then he isn't going to understand the need to practice hard, improve all the time and fight for his job. I think Doc's approach frustrates people because the general NBA approach is to let the kids play, a lot, whether they deserve the minutes or not. I am not so sure this is the wisest approach either.
So what is the best approach to developing young players? I think the NBA approach is shortsighted and backwards. Teams are way too impatient and are not systematic in their development efforts. The pressure for young players to perform immediately is high, as recently as January of this year sports writers, bloggers and some NBA scouts were asking if Avery Bradley was a bust, at 20 years old and less than a year and a half into his professional career the verdict was already being rendered. Two months later Bradley had taken Ray Allen's spot as the starting shooting guard on the hottest team in the NBA. Clearly the judgments were premature.
The NBA used to be able to rely on colleges to groom players, teach them the fundamentals and even use March madness to get a jump on marketing the league's players. Now the good players make a 9 month pit stop in college and turn pro. They aren't working on improving their game, they are trying to put up stats to help their draft position, the NBA has not really adjusted to this reality.
I think the D League is a start in the right direction, but the NBA needs to turn it into a true minor league, similar to hockey. Allow kids to get drafted out of high school and still attend college (like in baseball and hockey) or sign a two way deal (I think all rookie contracts should automatically be two way deals) and play in the D League. Every NBA team should have their own D League affiliate and the expectation should be that all drafted players will spend time in the D League, only a handful of the most NBA ready players each year would make the jump directly to the NBA. NBA teams could use their D League affiliates to teach the fundamentals of the game, have players improve on specific skills and install that team's playbook and defensive philosophy. This means that when a player gets called up to the big team he would already be schooled in playing the "Celtic way" or the Spurs way. NBA teams could also promote and demote players more freely, allowing them to bring players up to fill in for injured players.
Obviously this is a radical departure from the current NBA approach and unlikely to be implemented anytime soon.
As for Doc, I think he has the right approach, the one exception being that he should roll the young kids out during the regular season, in low stakes situations when they could provide a spark of enthusiasm during those dreary January/February stretches.
Do people really think Doc hates rookies or is he just holding them to the same standard as the veterans?