ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 29: Coach Doc Rivers talks to Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics during the closing seconds of a loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks won 83-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Bob Ryan sat down with Doc Rivers for a little Q & A at Action For Boston Community Development's Hoop Dreams event. Doc reflected on the successes of last season (moving Kevin Garnett to center and Ray Allen to the bench), how the new look Celtics might approach the season a little differently, and how the team is focused on the Heat, no the Lakers.
Doc Rivers and Bob Ryan Q&A (via TheFabEmpire)
Make sure to check out all three parts on YouTube of Bob Ryan's sit down, especially the end. Doc talks about how every tactical move is focused on beating one team and one team only: the defending champs, Miami Heat.
First, Doc played doctor and gave us the latest on Garnett: "He feels fantastic now. He said that this is the best he's felt in years going into a season." That's great news, considering how successful the Celtics were with finding the fountain of youth by making KG the man in the middle. By moving KG to center and starting Brandon Bass at power forward, Doc created match up problems with two shooting bigs on the floor. It forced opposing teams to come out of the paint and defend them. I'm sure we'll see a lot of this inverted offense this season as well with Rondo, Lee, Bradley, Terry, Pierce, and Green attacking the rim and getting to the line.
That segues right into another point of emphasis that Doc wants to improve on in 2013: free throws.
We have to get to the foul line because when you get to the foul line-that's one of the big things now in our league-if you can get to the foul line, you can become a dominant defensive team because you get to set your defense every single time.
If you keep missing shots against Miami, you're going to let them run back and forth. I told our guys, "I'm smart enough to know that if we get in a track meet with Miami, they're probably going to win, but if we get in a thinking meet, we will win that game."
We want them to think. We want them to play under thought, not with their instincts.
I love Doc's choice of words: "track meet" vs. "thinking meet." With the versatility that this team has now, it's going to be great to see how the league's best X's and O's man plans to attack Miami this time around. When pressed about what he thought about how the Lakers transformed their team into another super team, Doc joked about the Lakers running the Princeton with Kobe having to pass the ball more and how much more of a threat Bynum has been, not Dwight Howard. But kidding aside, Doc re-focused his sights on South Beach:
Honestly, I don't care about the Lakers...I have my eye squarely on Miami. I come up to my players during the year-they're in the facility now-I bring up Miami every single day to them. I want them to hate them. I want them to beat them. That's gotta be our focus.
Lost in the conversation was his thoughts on Ray Allen. Doc had hoped to move Ray to the bench at the beginning of the season. Read that again: Doc had hoped to move Ray to the bench at the beginning of the season. It was something that advance scout Jack Nolan pointed out to him during the season that he had said before the season had even started. In addition to his plans of getting Garnett to work exclusively at center, Doc had always intended to use Ray as a 6th man to improve bench scoring. It wasn't until Ray went down to injury did Avery Bradley get a chance to break out of his shell.
Now, circumstances may have dictated his decision and we all know how it played out for the rest of the year and eventually this summer. The question is whether or not Doc would have pulled the trigger on the controversial move had Ray's ankles never flared up. His gut told him it was the right decision, but maybe his relationship and respect for Ray held him back or maybe AB just wasn't ready when the lockout was lifted. Doc confirmed that Courtney Lee will start the season with Jason Terry reprising his role that he excelled at in Dallas and when Avery's healthy, "we'll see."