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What's Next For Doc?

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DocI had been wondering about Doc Rivers for a little while now.  I realize that Danny and Wyc have given him support and in general, he's been given a free pass by the fans and media for the rest of the season.  However, before all the injuries happened, the coach was one of the top guys on the "hot seat" and some were wondering openly if he'd last the season.  So, what happens this offseason?  Steve Bulpett addresses the question:

Both Danny Ainge and ownership have said Rivers is safe for the season, and assuming nothing changes in the team’s hierarchy, the next key juncture for the coach will come after the season. Rivers has just one season remaining on his deal with the Celtics. Lame ducks generally don’t coach in the NBA, so a decision is nearing.

“It’s standard,” Rivers said. “That’s why we’ll talk. That time will come this summer, and we’ll discuss it, and we’ll see how it works out.

“If they don’t let me see it through, then obviously I wasn’t dealt a good hand. But I’m not worried about that. Honestly, I’m not. When that day comes, I think things will work out. I really do.

“Listen, if they don’t see what’s going on, then . . .” Rivers added. “But I think people understand what’s happened here.”

Doc clearly wants to coach past this season.  You have to give him some credit, he's stood up well under a lot of pressure.  He hasn't gone off the deep end wiith some "Eric Williams, Tony Battie, and Antoine Walker are not walking through that door" tirade or anything.  He hasn't quit like the last two coaches did.  He's holding his head up, coaching the kids on every play, and doing the best he can.  Some might argue that he deserves a shot at coaching Oden or Durant and/or anyone we bring in way of trade this offseason.  You could argue that he deserves a shot at a good roster.

Personally I think that is hogwash.  He's had better rosters and he's made it to the playoffs, got outcoached and lost.  His teams have never played much defense and this one might be the worst defensive unit the Beantown faithful have witnessed since, ...well, 1996.  I don't buy the excuse that they are too young either.  Skiles took a young Bulls team and turned them into a defensive force last year.  Sure, it takes some talented kids, but it also takes the discipline to hammer it into those kids' heads.  Maybe that can be partially blamed on Danny for making offense a priority, but the coach has a responsibility to preach defense every hour of the day, not just give it lip service.

The bottom line is that Doc's teams haven't overachieved.  They have not played larger than the sum of their parts.  They have not gelled to the point of a cohesive unit that picks apart the competition by simply being better prepared.  For that reason, I can't imagine why the team would bring him back for another season.

This offseason is going to be critical on a lot of levels.  There is a huge draft, a good opportunity to make a couple of trades, and it would be a very good time to look at making a fresh start at coach.