In reading all of the tributes and memories of Red this morning, one thing has stood out to me. Red's approach to the game was "Keep it simple."
“He always thought the simpler you keep things the easier for the players to (remember),” Bird said. “Especially in tight situations, they knew exactly what they were going to do. He never believed in drawing up a special play at the end of games or the end of a half. He just wanted to keep it simple.
Now contrast this with the article from Saturday's Herald about Doc calling off practice.
Rivers did this with Wednesday’s season opener against the Hornets only four days away, and the coaching staff attempting to put in three defensive schemes that were kept on the shelf during the Celtics’ eight exhibition games.
4 days away from the first game and Doc is instituting 3 new defensive schemes that he hadn't brought out during the preseason games. It makes me wonder if Doc isn't making this too hard. Do we have too many plays and too many defensive schemes? Red's philosophy was to keep it simple and make sure that players know their roles. Maybe this is what made his teams so great. Red's players didn't have to deal with multiple offensive and defensive sets and knew exactly what their role was. They could just go out and play ball.
The one thing that always surprised me was how he could get players off another team and they would perform better for the Celtics than they did their previous team. So he had a talent that I think no one’s ever seen before. And he did it year after year.”
Could it be that players don't do well in systems that micromanage and where players don't know their roles? When they got to Red's team, where they knew exactly what was expected of them and where they got to just play basketball, they excelled. The Celtics played as a team. Everyone had their role but they were a team and everyone knew they were a Celtic and that meant something.
The Celtics have dedicated this season to Red and anything less than a playoff appearance would be a travesty when it is dedicated to the best basketball mind that ever was. Maybe this season, Doc should take a page from Red's playbook. Keep it simple. Instead of instituting 3 new defensive schemes 4 days before the first game, teach the players their roles. Set a rotation. Teach them one or two offensive sets and let them just play ball instead of having to remember a multitude of different offensive and defensive sets. I believe that if Doc does this, he can get the most out of our young players. Most have proved that they can play basketball, but are bogged down learning all of Doc's sets.
Red's philosophy was to keep it simple. As we dedicate this season to him, it would benefit Doc a great deal to go back to basics and borrow a page from Red's playbook and just keep it simple.