I have said it before and I am now strongly convinced that Doc is the weakest link in this team. We have a lot of young players who will come into their own this season. We have talent and depth but what we don't have is a head coach who knows what he is doing. He says all the right things, but I haven't seen him doing the right things. He has been incapable of managing the rotation, making wise decisions during games, and teaching defense to a young team very capable of playing it.
First and foremost is his lack of respect for defense. He has made the comment that he worked on offense in practice because because "after all half of the team is playing defense when they work on offense." This would seem to be a bad approach to coaching because our team desperately needs more defense. We won't win without it. Any coach who doesn't stress defense is not a good coach. Defense wins games and championships and a team will go nowhere without it. We have seen that in this team over the past 3 years.
Second, Doc doesn't know his players. He plays Scal big minutes and believes that he is a starter. He even played Scal big minutes in the preseason last year when he should have been looking at the younger players. He already knew what Scal could do. At the same time that Scal is getting big minutes, Powe is sitting on the bench because he doesn't "get the system." When Powe got a chance to play he did very well and produced quite well in limited playing time. The previous season, we had a similar situation with Gomes. He never got off the bench and then finally when Doc was forced to play him due to injuries, he came in and became a starter. I can't believe that Gomes wasn't showing enough in practice to warrant some playing time and then when he got into a game, he suddenly got it. Telfair started at PG while Rondo got limited minutes and even a few DNP's. When Rondo finally got to start, he proved that he should have been playing more all along.
Third, Doc doesn't have a clue as to how to use our bigs. Before the trade, he played Raef big minutes because he loves a center "who can spread the floor." Raef rarely played under the basket and roamed on the 3 point line. Last year he made a remark about liking centers who play under the basket. When did he develop this proclivity? Doc constantly played Blount big minutes, even though he was turnover prone and didn't rebound. Because of this, Perk got precious little playing time over his first 3 years in the league. I am so tired of seeing the center inbound the ball on the baseline and then run up to stand behind the arc and wait for the pass to come around the arc. Bigs need to play under the basket and not on the 3 point line.
Doc loves small ball but doesn't realize that when you go small ball, you will be at a big disadvantage on the boards if you don't keep at least one of your bigs in with them to grab rebounds. Yes, the small ball teams are faster and can run more, but you can't run without the ball. Small ball is good to shake things up but you have to have a rebounder in with the small lineup. Also, our young bigs play tentatively because at their first mistake, Doc tends to pull them and sit them. They know that they get very little time in the first place because Doc tends to rely on veterans, whether they play well or not. And they are afraid of making a mistake because they don't want to be pulled from the game and that makes them more tentative. Too many times Doc went to small ball without a rebounder and shot blocker in there.
Last but not least, Doc's rotations are bizarre. He will stick with players who are not playing well and pull players who are playing great but make a mistake. He plays small ball way too much and doesn't keep defensive units out there enough. In spite of talking about a running game and in spite of having a PG who could run a fast break team, Doc doesn't know how to coach a fast break team. They don't run and settle for way too many half court sets and usually Pierce with an ISO.
I am not alone in my assessment of Doc's weaknesses. Here is a quote from Mike on BSMW's Full Court Press.
I certainly don’t think Doc is at the top of his profession. He seems incapable of managing his team’s rotations, to the point where it seems like every other game finds the Celtics with 5 subs getting run off the floor by an opponent playing 2 or 3 starters. Similarly it is rare to see the Celtics play a solid game two games in a row. Most people would lay that at the feet of the youth movement, but the coach has some say in that too.
Also, Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, constantly called out Doc for his poor in game decision making and his inability to manage the rotations. We have seen this every year of Doc's tenure. Every season that Doc has been here, our win total has gone down. We all expected that Doc would be fired after last season, but instead, he was given an extension.
In a recent article in the Herald, Steve Bulpett pointed out that there are no more excuses and questions the results that Doc has gotten over his first 3 seasons with the team.
If a player has the requisite talent and aptitude to learn, then exactly whose fault is it if he doesn’t perform to his capabilities? I don’t know,” said Rivers. “I don’t think it’s necessarily on the coach. I think it’s on both of us, but I don’t think you can say, ‘Now this year I’ve got to get them to do this.’ That’s just idiotic thinking.” Even after the positive signs displayed by a number of the Celtic kids? “What did we accomplish?” countered Rivers. “We accomplished a bunch of individual guys doing things.” Precisely. And the logical flow model states the next step is getting the conductor to figure out how to put his musicians into the same harmonic key. What sets best fit their talents? The measure of a coach will be told in the results. First, however, the coach must get his players to put team concerns ahead of personal matters.
We can blame youth, injuries, and whatever for the failure of this team to progress, but it all comes down to the coach's inability to bring it all together.
I firmly believe that if this team fails to make the playoffs this season, it will be Doc's fault. Danny has continually stuck by Doc and supported him. But when it is obvious to everyone else, including 99% of the fans and media, that Doc is a poor coach and is costing us games by his inability to manage rotations, failure to play deserving players while playing others who don't deserve playing time, and his disregard for the importance of defense, something should be done by the organization. I don't know who would be the best coach for this team, but I do know that Doc cost us quite a few games last season and will do the same this season if he continues along the same road he has been following.
I like Doc, I really do. He is a great guy and is good with the press and he is a very likable guy. But he just isn't a good coach. He has never won more than 45 games in his 7 years as a head coach. He has never gotten a team out of the first round of the playoffs. Most of us hoped for David Blatt to come in as an assistant this season but our hopes for that have been dashed since he signed with a Turkish team. With the departure of Tony Brown, we could really use a defensive minded assistant who can help to turn this team around. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a very good assistant who can help Doc do a better job of coaching. I am all for keeping Doc if he can do the job, but if this team doesn't get off to a good start, Doc should be fired even with the extension in place. He is all out of excuses.