As you probably can tell by many of my posts lately, I love Celtics history and have been reading a lot of books on the subject. In every one of the books from the years when Red was coach, one thing always stands out. 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,” Larry Bird once 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 make sure that players knew their roles and try to make those roles as uncomplicated as possible. 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 Red could bring a player in from another team and that player 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, player after player, championship after championship.
One explanation could be that players perform much better when they can just play, rather than have to follow a complicated system designed by a coach who micromanages the players. When those players came to Red's simple system, 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.
Danny has brought a number of new players to the team this season, some rookies and some veterans. I know that Doc has a fairly complicated system, but there have been times when a new player joined the team mid-season that he has run just a few simple plays. When he has done that, the team seemed to play very well, even with a new player. Maybe he should take a page from Red's book and let them just play ball. "Just do what you do best." I'm aware that the league is much different from the days that Red coached. But, who knows, perhaps a simplified system would throw everyone off and no one would be able to figure out what's going on.
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. Red's genius went far beyond his knack for finding gems in the draft and making mind blowing trades. He knew how to get the best out of his players by letting them do what they did best.