Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Doc Rivers - Steering the Death Ship

Face it gang, Doc is part of the problem. Granted, he’s probably the best guy we could have hired, but he’s made some big strategic blunders on the court and has really made a mess of the Pierce situation. Don’t get me wrong, I think Pierce has played terribly this year, but Doc has turned it into a nasty, personal battle that has developed into a toxic environment for a team full of young, impressionable (and hugely important) rookies.

It’s all pretty weird, because when Doc was hired, we all heard about how he was a great “player’s coach” and would be a welcome change from Pitino ego-ism, OBrien star-fucking, and John Carroll ineptness. He in fact went out of his way to promote that image. When introduced to the press after being hired by the Celtics, Doc made a big point of saying how he didn’t believe in talking about players to the press. To quote directly, he said: “I have one motto with my staff is we talk to the players and not about them.” (sic)

Unfortunately, Doc has done little BUT talk to the press about his players. He made it explicitly clear from the beginning of his tenure that he doesn’t like Marcus Banks, and now that he’s stuck with him until Delonte comes back, he still lobs out critiques of Banks’ play during the (Dunkin Donuts) post-game interviews. That I happen to agree with him 100% is irrelevant – ripping on one of your guys to the media, regardless of how much of a dimwit he is, doesn’t really seem to be the way to foster trust amongst your players.

Furthermore, Doc has made confusing and contradictory assessments of the team’s problems throughout the season. When they weren’t moving the ball he bitched about how they were selfish on offense. Then they move the ball and he decides that “no one on this team plays if they don’t play defense.” Then you get his blanket criticism of the starting five after the Chicago game even though it was pretty clear that Blount and Pierce were the problems. I can’t blame Raef LaFrentz for being pissed off at being included in the blame when all he was doing was pulling down as many rebounds as he could while Mark Blount flailed away helplessly next to him.

Also, and this one really pisses me off, but what kind of winning coach gives Walter McCarty more minutes than Jefferson, Perkins and even Gugliotta? He DNP’d old Waltah on Monday, so perhaps it’s a start of something good, but it’s hard to understand why it took him so long to put any faith in Perkins’ abilities, particularly when he provides exactly what we’ve been lacking – rebounding.

Finally, it doesn’t take a cynic to find it hilarious when they send Tommy Heinsohn in to mop up the mess with pre-game “interviews” where he lauds Doc’s work and asks him with breathless wonder, “how much can you teach these guys in a single season?” Tommy Gun is an old-pro at spinning it for the home team, and you can tell he genuinely likes Doc and wants him to succeed. But remember, Tommy is the guy who said that John Carroll’s idiocy was the result of trying to “break the habits of the old regime,” who every year claims that “these Celtics just exchanged phone numbers last week” and who is paid handsomely to make the best of the annual shit-sandwich handed to him by Celtics brass.

I should sum all of this up in a nice closing paragraph, but I don’t really feel like it. I guess I’m just saying that as much as I like Doc, he’s been far from perfect, and there have been some disturbing inconsistencies in his public statements and on-the-court actions. Anyone think otherwise?

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