Maybe Doc Needs a Doctor?

Jared Wickerham

Assuming that most of the sports geeks reading this actually do bleed green, this season has been, for lack of a better word painful. Before the season started, this Celtics squad certainly was not a championship favorite, but they did look like the second best team in the east. Doesn’t that seem so long ago?

Personally, I have no delusions about this team. I never once thought any time before this season that this team was going to win a championship, or even make it there for that matter. I feel like my expectations for this team were pretty realistic, a top 4 team in the east (factoring in for injuries) and a very tough out in the playoffs. Now it looks like they are fighting for the last playoff spot. The Celtics should not be this bad, there is a ton of talent on this roster (not top tier talent) but better than .500 most certainly. Which brings us to a sports fan favorite and the point of this little rant… It Is About Time We Take A Look At The COACH!!!

No, I am not advocating for the replacement of Doc Rivers as the coach of the Boston Celtics, not yet anyways. There is only one reason to fire a coach mid-season, when the players quit on the coach, see D. Williams, D. Howard, C. Anthony getting coaches fired over the past couple years. K.G. and Pierce have not quit on Doc, they’re just old, and Rondo is still playing hard so there is no reason to get Doc out of town before this team plays its last game of the season.

There are two kinds of basketball coaches:

Type 1.: Looks at the roster and says "How can I win with this roster?". "How can I put my players in the best position to perform?" "How can I get the most out of player X?"

Type 2: Looks at the roster and says "How can I make these guys play in my system?"

The type 2 coach would rather go down in flames with his system because he is just not a good enough coach to adjust to a different type of roster. These coaches can win, see Phil Jackson who won 10 titles by picking his spots and only signing on with rosters he knew could run his triangle offense successfully. Doc is a very good type 2 coach.

There is really only one Type 1. Coach in the league right now and it is going to take the jaws of life to pry Greg Poppovich out of San Antonio so don’t go wishing to the basketball gods for a coach of that caliber. Although after watching some of the Bulls games lately, Tom Thibidou is getting there, he has somehow found a way to utilize guys like Nate Robinson, Rip Hamilton, and Carlos Boozer properly on both sides of the ball when there is no way they should function in the schemes he utilized in Boston.

The reason I am putting this team’s record on Doc, he has not adapted the offense or the defense to accommodate the talent that Danny brought in this past summer. He really hasn’t even adapted to the increasing age of the core. My gripes with the offense:

One of the most effective parts of the offense recently has been Rondo finding Avery Bradley on a cut for a hoop. Why has that same principle not been applied to Green, Bass, Barbosa, or Lee, all of whom can finish at the rim with ease?

Why is the JET running Ray Allen’s plays, he is not a catch and shoot guy, he creates off the dribble.

Jeff Green is not a post option. Watching him try to operate from the left block is infuriating sometimes.

Can this team please stop relying on Paul Pierce to manufacture points; he can no longer do this every night.

Maybe try and get Sullinger more touches inside, maybe?

My bigger gripe is with the defense. This rotating defense is most effective when a team has a big active frontline, and mediocre backcourt defenders who struggle against penetration. This no longer describes to current roster. The Celtics have a small front line, but there are some defensive studs in the backcourt. Let Bradley, Lee, Rondo, Barbosa, Green, and to some extent Pierce play straight up D and leave KG, Bass, Sully, and whoever else on the front line in better position to hit the boards since they won’t be rotating every pass or dribble penetration and leaving JET to box out Carlos Boozer.

These are difficult changes to make I fully understand it, and I am not saying I should be a coach, Doc Rivers has already forgotten more about basketball than I could ever hope to know, but as a fan and someone who has played competitively for a long time, I see a system that no longer fits the roster. I hope Doc can adapt, I like him as a coach, but if he can’t and we are rebuilding around Rondo, Green, Bradley, Sullinger etc., It may be favorable to bring in a coach who employs a style more suited to the players.

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