Some wondered if the end of Scal's tenure with the Celtics also meant the end of his time as a player. And with all the praise we've heard from Doc about his basketball IQ, I'm sure I wasn't the only person to expect him to move into coaching.
As we all know, thanks to Thibs, he got a contract to keep playing with the Bulls. But after reading this Basketball Jones piece on Derrick Rose, I can't help but think he's already thinking about the next stage of his career.
The post talks about Rose's quietness, and sometimes near inability to communicate. With quiet guys, you often end up questioning their competitiveness. When Rose was banged up, he told Carlos Boozer he'd have to score 40 to make up for Rose's potential ineffectiveness. That's when Coach Scal stepped in.
Rose continues to talk, telling the media about teammate Brian Scalabrine’s message to him in the locker room while he was getting ready to hit the floor with that sore arm.
“Scal said something good before the game, saying that great players find a way to play through things. He mentioned Kobe, saying his finger and all of that. That gave me something to think about knowing that there’s no point in playing this game if you’re not trying to be the best. In being the best, you’ve got to fight through injuries, at least play.”
There are a few interesting things about this quote. For one thing, you have to assume Scal was familiar with this drill with Rajon — by all accounts a similar player and person to Rose. Young, quiet, a questionable leader (those I would say Rondo has passed that test). So I first wonder if this was a speech he had already given, or overheard someone give, to Rajon in Boston.
Second, I find it fascinating he mentioned Kobe. It was probably an effort to communicate to a younger kid — hell, Monta Ellis wears no. 8 because Kobe was his favorite player "growing up". Even Jordan might seem an old reference now.
Third, he's setting an awfully high bar, but he must see it in Derrick. Not "be your best" — "be THE best".
I also love the timing — just a random December game, so for the young and successful (and especially for those who grew up in the entitled AAU generation), it might have seemed a prime night off, or at least for reduced work.
I know this is all apropos of nothing, but it's interesting to me to see Scal exhibit some more coaching acumen. Credit Doc, Thibs, or whoever. But I bet Scal doesn't just disappear when he finally hangs up his low-top Nikes for the last time.