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Doc Rivers: Fitting the Pieces

Doc says Daniels is a boon, discusses the long and short of it all, names other teams to look out for, and gives and end-of-bench quick appraisal...all while waiting for your toast to pop.

Some of the ideas put forth about roles on the team reinforce earlier thoughts that Doc had about things, especially with Marquis Daniels.  Others might be a bit more surprising, though are not the first time Doc has verbalized many of those thoughts either.

Most everyone thinks Marquis Daniels could help this team. The earliest thinking was that he would back up 2-3.
Shortly after, Doc added ‘point forward’ duties as in bringing the ball up and distributing it to Daniels list of potential responsibilities. Five preseason games in, it seems that might become reality. Some indications are that it might also cause problems for the other teams to defend.

Q: What are the advantages of having Marquis Daniels?

Marquis does a little of what Steph did. The difference is it was pushing it a little having Steph in, when Eddie was on the floor, because they really were two point guards (height-wise) and so the other team always had some kind of match up advantage.

Where with Marquis and Eddie and whoever the 2 is on the floor, we have a natural line up on the floor, it’s a 1,2, and a 3. Marquis can guard the 2 or the 3 and it’s a better fit.

The other thing is Marquis helps is they rarely (put) pressure on him. It was interesting, Jersey the first game, they actually put the point guard on Marquis, because they were trying to pressure the ball.

And when Marquis would bring the ball up, there were few (opposing) threes in the league who are going to ‘turn the ball’ full force, this and that. You just don’t see that a lot, minus Scottie Pippin.

(They thought) ‘we have to put some kind of pressure on the ball, we have to put our point guard on him.’ Then Marquis got the great post position right after that. So he’s just a smart player.

Doc is then asked when he decided they needed to make some moves. The reporter wasn’t local, so it’s understandable that he might not have known Doc’s season ending declarations.


Q: When did it become obvious you had to upgrade? After everyone else started to?

I said that…about a day right after the season ended. I thought we absolutely had to get better as a team. I thought we took away from our championship team, and didn’t put in.

You know, we lost PJ and lost Posey and we lost Sam. And then we didn’t add to that. We added youth, that… hopefully some day the guys we drafted may be good players, but they weren’t ready yet. And everybody else we met this year (in the playoffs), last year had (added).

A long team…it appeared to be a long time gone.

The Celtics won with length in 2008. The Lakers won with length in 2009. Length matters.

Granted, it is not the only factor. The Spurs and Magic prove that. But it can be a big one. The Lakers will remain long and tall this season with 7’ 0" Andrew Bynum, 7’ 0" Pau Gasol and once again have a nimble 6’ 10" Lamar Odom coming off the bench.  Due to Odom’s ball handling and passing skills, he is a match up problem. Rasheed Wallace will present match up problems of a different nature for opposing teams.

So I felt that we had to add to our team and it was clear in what areas for us. We had to add length. We weren’t long enough.

Doc channels Randy Newman.

When we won it, we were a long basketball team, with Perk, Kevin and PJ Brown. Last year, it was Perk and Kevin. When Kevin went out the door, it was Perk. When Perk had to sit because of foul trouble, we had two guys at 6’7" playing our 5 and 4. We weren’t long enough.

Then the other thing we had to have was a back up for Paul. Paul spent the entire season last year trying to score and defend the best player on the other team at the 2 or the 3, and that is exhausting.

The top teams stay the same. Like Perkins did yesterday, Doc adds a couple of teams to be careful of this year.

Q: Do you want to say that it comes down to 5-6 teams that made the biggest moves and which ever team’s moves pays off biggest is going to win?

Well, I guess. I don’t think the east is changed much from last year. San Antonio is healthy and they made a move, so the west… are still the teams that were favored last year. And the east are still the teams that were favored, and they were favored before the trades were made. And they became stronger.

But I think some teams may jump into it. I think Washington you have to watch. Gilbert is healthy, and they made some changes. They could do better. I think no one’s talking about Dallas, and I think they could be a much better basketball team, as well.

I think some of the young teams are coming up. The east is clearly stronger. And that is good for all of us.

Q: Roster spots 11-15... can any of those players actually be depended on for any meaningful minutes in a pinch?

Oh. I don’t know. Really, right now, it almost depends on the night with those guys.

Then Doc breaks 'em down. While his answers have been consistent on these players for a while, I think it is fair to say that, it is not how many fans would have called it, say in the middle of the summer.

 Call it… Doc’s End of the Bench Awards. May I have the envelope please….

JR (Giddens) defensively, we could get away with.

Comment: Frank Dell' Apa of the Globe had more from Doc on this. It seems that Giddens chance to see any actual game time at all is as a defensive player. Put that gun back in your holster, J.R. You have just heard your ticket to the game…the defense must never rest.

Sweet (Michael Sweetney) offensively with his size.

This is an eye opener. Out of shape this much, Glen Davis never was. But the last time I remember seeing Mr. Sweetney play was an exhibition game against the Celtics. All he did was come in and rain jumpers down on the Green Team. I think he made at least three or four 12-15 feet jumpers in about ten minutes. He was out of shape then but looked downright skinny compared to now. The man has NBA ready offense. I’ll give him that.

Shelden (Williams) if it’s a pick and pop game, I think could do well.

Again Doc's answer surprises me. I don’t think that Shelden Williams has established an NBA pick and pop capability…yet. Does Doc see something that two other NBA teams haven’t? Doc believes in his mid range shooting ability.

The Celtics’ half court style of play is right for Shelden. He looked reasonably comfortable around the hoop in the Raptors game. He doesn’t look afraid to mix it up. Pick and pop? Mad Scientism? Or a Return to Dukey-ness?

Tony Allen, if he could just get healthy would be the best.

Therein lies the Secret to the DaVinci Code. Angels and Demons could easily be the title of Tony’s autobiography. The 2009 Space Odyssey of Tony Allen continues. Boston is ‘on the waterfront’. Tony’s still waiting to catch a healthy break.   

So, those are some quick insights into the strengths that Doc sees in each end-of-roster player, if needed.

There you have it.

Summary – study hard. Test tomorrow.
A look at a Marquis diamond a/k/a the Cold Cut Combo guard/forward,
some surprise competition from both the Obama Nation and the Cuban Nation,
the ‘short people aren’t the center(s) of the world’ dirge,
and the People’s Choice ‘Parked-On-The-Bench’ Awards

All for the price of a cup of coffee, the morning newspaper, and a few bad jokes. What a country.

Enjoy the day!

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