I have been reading a lot of books on the history of the Celtics. In all of them, 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."
Red's philosophy was to keep it simple and make sure that players knew 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 roles were. They could just go out and play ball and that is what they did, championship after championship. Red would tell his players "Just do what you do best."
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 for their previous team. He had a talent for this 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 teams, 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 now have 3 All Star players (and possibly 4 if Reggie joins the team). 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 as he did last season, maybe he should just give the players their roles, and 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. "Just do what you do best." For Perk, that would be to play inside and for Rajon it would be to run. I believe that if Doc does this, he can get the most out of this team. In the past I believe that our young players were bogged down with learning all the plays and defensive sets that Doc was trying to institute. If Doc tries to make things too complicated again, even this veteran team may have trouble meshing.
Red's philosophy was to keep it simple and his teams were always successful with this approach, whether it was a young team or a veteran team. This season, keeping it simple and giving each player a role might be the best thing Doc could do. Doc needs to go back to basics and borrow a page from Red's playbook and just keep it simple.