I'll bet you thought this was going to be a post about Fab Melo or Jared Sullinger or even Darko Milicic learning from KG. There have been a lot of those posts around lately. But, no, this one is about the real master. The greatest basketball mind in the history of the game: Arnold "Red" Auerbach. It appears that Rick Carlisle hasn't forgotten his Celtic roots. Here is a quote from ESPN Dallas.
"I told these guys the first day we got together here that 28 years ago when I went into a rookie camp like this, Red Auerbach stepped into the middle of the room and he said, 'We can only go by what we see, so whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and give us the best chance to evaluate you,'" Carlisle said. "So that’s what we’ve asked them to do. We’re certainly going to work with guys to help get them better every day, but whatever’s gotten them to this point is what we need them to do well and what they need to do well and we’ll work with them on the other things going forward."
Red Auerbach was a teacher, a leader, and a pioneer of the sport of basketball. It is certain that the NBA wouldn't be what it is today without him.So what other wisdom could Doc and the staff glean from Red that would help the rookies, and even the veterans? One of my favorite quotes from Red is one that is on one of my tee shirts.
"The Celtics are not a basketball team. They are a way of life."
More words of wisdom from Red after the jump.
Other words of wisdom from Red that our rookies would do well to adhere to include:
There will be nights when your shots won't fall, but you can play good defense every night.
Every player has to learn that offense wins games but it is defense that wins championships. Players who prove themselves on the defensive end will earn their way onto the court.
An acre of performance is worth a whole world of promise.
We hear the word promise thrown around a lot. There are a lot of players who show promise in the draft, but it is the players who work hard and improve their game and who put out the effort every day whether in games, in practice, or in their off time who make it in the league. Larry Bird wasn't athletic, he couldn't jump and he was slow. But in spite of his shortcomings, he worked hard enough to develop skills that made him one of the greatest players ever. Paul Pierce and KG are where they are because of their hard work. And Mark Blount is where he is because he didn't work.
Natural abilities are like natural plants; they need pruning by study.
This quote goes right along with the previous one. Even players with incredible athletic ability and natural skills won't make it until they put in the work to make themselves the best they can be. Gerald Green is a good example of this. He was a great athlete and could shoot the lights out but wasn't willing to work hard on his defense and other areas. He finally learned that lesson after a few years in Russia.
If you want to be a champion, you've got to feel like one, you've got to act like one, you've got to look like one.
And this is what has made the Celtics one of the best and classiest organizations in the league. They demand that their players act, feel and look like champions. Players who come to Boston mention how there is a certain feel to the team. It's Celtic Pride and it's unlike anything else anywhere in the league. Red knew it all those years ago and it's just as true today.