Over the past few weeks, Rivers routinely played his worst defensive players (Sebastian Telfair, Allan Ray and Gerald Green) any time we needed the opposing team to make a run. In fact, I insist that Telfair and Ray are invited when we retire the jerseys of Oden or Durant in 20 years. We couldn't have done it without them.
He gives a list of the top 10 reasons we are extending Doc and why none of them are actually valid. My favorite is Reason No. 4:
Doc gets credit for keeping a young team playing hard after Paul Pierce and Wally Szczerbiak went down. You know, because it's so hard to convince a team of ALL GOOD GUYS to keep playing hard every night. That's a chore. There isn't a bad apple on this team. We don't know how he did it.
(Note: Last year's excuse was that Marcus Banks and Mark Blount infected the locker room and screwed up team chemistry, so we traded those cancerous bums for Wally, a better guy who makes $12 million a year and walks with a limp. This year, the excuse was that we were "destroyed by injuries," even though we were 5-13 on Dec. 8 with a relatively healthy team that had just finished the easiest stretch of its schedule. No Boston media members mention this crap because the beat writers love Rivers for making their day-to-day jobs easier, and the mainstream columnists are too busy filming segments for TV shows, playing golf and calling in to radio shows. Besides, all anyone in Boston cares about are the Sox and Pats. So what's the point?)
We do have ALL GOOD GUYS! I would love to keep this group together and add that top draft pick and a new coach and guaranteed, we will go deep into the playoffs.
In Reason #9,
Simmons discusses Doc's three weaknesses as a coach: He blows too many close games, he can't juggle a rotation and his teams can't defend a high screen to save their lives. See, we just spent the past 50 games reaping the benefits of these three things.
To anyone who has watched Doc coach, you have to realize that Simmons hit it on the head with this one. Our defense will never be good with Doc as a coach. I have said it many times, but when Doc mentioned last season that he works on offense in practice because that is the hardest to get and the defense will come along because after all, while they practice the offense, half the team has to play defense, I knew then that Doc would never get a team to a championship. Offense may win games here and there, but it is defense that wins championships.
Simmons also has a sidebar detailing the youth that Doc has "developed" this season. Al has taken a huge leap in his development this season but I would lay that at the feet of Clifford Ray and not Doc. Doc still doesn't know how to use his bigs effectively. We have seen development in several other young players, but the key is that we haven't seen enough development in the team as a whole. Granted we have had a lot of injuries, but still, even with the great chemistry on this team and the individual improvement, we don't see team improvement in the important areas of defense and execution down the stretch. Doc just doesn't use a player's strengths and often tries to fit round players into square slots. For anyone still on the fence about Doc's extension, read this article with an open mind. He makes some good points. [Discuss this topic on the Celtics Green Forums!]