I was going to post an article on defense but Jeff over at CelticsBlog beat me to it and he says everything I planned to say but probably better.
This is the best part of his article and so very true.
To me defense has always been about two things. First of all, it is about heart. The players have to want it, need it, and live it. They have to take pride in it. You don’t have to be the most skilled guy on the court, just the hardest working one.
Second, defense has to be a team effort. The best defenses don’t depend on one or two lock-down guys. If the parts all work in unison, cover for each other, and stay disciplined then average defenders become great defenders.
These are my thoughts exactly. I don't buy that Doc tried last season and the players didn't work at it. Doc's quote that he worked on offense in practice because that was the hardest part to get and that they would pick up the defense by playing it while they were working on offense. He said
"After all, while the team is practicing offense, half the team has to play defense."
This statement has really, really bothered me. I know that you can tell because I quote it about once a week. To me, it shows that he doesn't take defense seriously enough. If indeed, he is working hard on defense in practice, I believe it is because either Danny or one of the new coaches (Clifford Ray, maybe?) got on him and stressed the need to play tough defense.
Last year, we heard from Doc all the time about how he loved having Raef to "stretch the defenses playing out on the 3 point line." In the meantime, we didn't have a center to defend the basket, to block shots, or to rebound. This year, Doc made the statement that he likes his centers playing under the basket where they belong. That is quite a turnaround. Whatever caused it, I am glad and I hope he sticks to it because we need our big men defending the basket and rebounding, not out on the 3 point line "stretching the defenses."
I believe that the players we have in camp have heart. They are very hard workers. I can see every one of them working hard to play defense, but it is up to the coach to teach it in practice and to work on a team defense. We didn't have that last year, hopefully we do this season or it will be more of the same. We score enough to almost win games but can't get the stops it takes to win them.
Its time for the Boston Celtics to be known as a hard working defensive team. There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a high powered, entertainng offense--as long as our defense is playoff caliber.
Good news for us is almost all our players are willing to listen to the coaching staff and do what they tell them to. Apparently, Blount and maybe Ricky were resistant to do what the coaches told them to do defensively.
I don't think you can say my article was better written than yours. I just think I have a more of an intense passion for men of extrodinary size than you do. I try to help my readers feel that in my writing.