Both the Globe (Springer) and Herald (Bulpett) have short pieces on Brian Scalabrine today. Heâ€™s been getting time lately, had a good game the other day, and will be needed with the injuries piling up.
Still, few Celtics are more maligned by fans than Scalabrine. Ever since Blount left, fans havenâ€™t had an obvious villain to focus their frustration at, so they are left to hammer a â€œgood guyâ€ with limited abilities and a long term contract. But is that fair?
Iâ€™ve maintained all along that heâ€™s really not all that overpaid. Sure, it is a longer contract than youâ€™d want to tie up in a bench-role player kind of guy. But half of the MLE is about the going rate for any veteran bench player. You need a couple guys like that on any team.
Hereâ€™s Docâ€™s pitch to you:
â€œHe does so many things,â€ the coach began. â€œHe plays with unbelievable energy. He has great court sense. His basketball IQ is so good it gets him in trouble at times. Instead of just doing the simple thing, he tries to do too much sometimes. Heâ€™s a pain defensively because he flies around the court and gets under the skin of the opposing player.
â€œHe does so many little things that a novice wouldnâ€™t see. They only see the missed shot or they see the one turnover he has. He does a lot of great things for your team.â€
Still, thatâ€™s a hard sell to fans who want to see results or at least see the â€œkidsâ€ play more. Many would argue that Leon Powe and Gerald Green have already shown that they have the ability to contribute more than Scal. Or even if they canâ€™t, at least weâ€™d be getting them experience for when they will be ready.
Doc has an answer for that as well:
â€œI donâ€™t think you do that ever with a team, and I know Iâ€™ve gone through this a million times,â€ Rivers said. â€œYou play the guys who earn the minutes. If you donâ€™t, I think you kill the spirit of your team. What do you tell the guy who outplays someone every day in practice if you go ahead and play the other guy anyway? How do you get your team to want to play for you? I hear that all the time about playing this guy or that guy, and I think again thatâ€™s someone who really doesnâ€™t understand team sports. They donâ€™t understand the dynamics of that.â€
I believe you can really hear the defensiveness coming out in Docâ€™s words these days. His basic message in these quotes is â€œtrust me, playing Scal is the right move.â€ He could be right, maybe playing Scal is the right move. However, the fans donâ€™t trust him, and they will continue questioning him about it.
Brian Scalabrine may be the dish of the day, but heâ€™s still just an appetizer for the main course of daily Doc Rivers talk.