Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
He’s come to London to work in the studio for NBC Sports on Olympic basketball, but his trip’s been an excuse to grab a notebook and visit Spain and Brazil and Argentina practices. He has a resumé withUSA Basketball, including one job as a gold-medal assistant in the Goodwill Games. USA Basketball will be searching for a national team coach in 2016, and however the structure of Olympic basketball changes, Rivers is an ideal candidate.
This piece by Adrian Wojnarowski is so good, I didn’t know where to start with it for the Morning Dump. There’s this part where he talks about missing a shot at the buzzer in the 1982 World Championships to lose to the Soviet Union.
“Silver [expletive] medal.”
After the public-address announcer in Cali, Colombia, summoned Rivers to accept his MVP trophy, 10, perhaps 20, seconds passed, and United States coach Bob Weltlich implored him: “Doc, you have to go get that trophy. YOU HAVE TO GET IT!”
And then there’s this… which is my favorite part… about earning respect as a coach.
“You have to earn your respect as a coach, and you have to earn it every year,” Rivers said. “I hear some people say now, ‘Because you won it, you’re a made man.’ That’s [expletive]. Every year, you have a different team. That group comes back and they want more playing time. One of those guys coming back is in a contract year. It’s a completely new team, even if it’s the same team, because they have different motives.
“You’ve got to earn it every year.”
And there’s so… so much more. It’s a must-read piece. And that line… “It’s a completely new team, even if it’s the same team, because they have different motives.”… is something every fan should write down, frame, and hang over his or her computer when arguing about the Celtics. Because we all so often look at last year’s performance and us it as the jumping-off point for our arguments. We all love to say “they went to Game 7 against Miami, they’re better now, so they’re a Finals team!”
Sure, they might be. They might have added enough pieces to be a Finals team. But they might also be a middle-of-the-road team. We really don’t know what this team will be. And what happened last year has virtually no effect on what will happen this year. If thy come out feeling entitled… or if one player plays differently… or if one acquisition just doesn’t pan out the way we thought… the variables are far and wide enough to make the range of end results pretty varied. On paper, the Celtics look pretty good. On the court… we won’t know yet for a few months at the earliest.
And that’s part of why Doc is just so damn good at his job. “It’s a completely new team, even if it’s the same team, because they have different motives.” It’s not just X’s and O’s with Doc. It’s a mastery of human nature. It’s the knowledge that the same guy is different from year to year for different reasons. He’s going to have to learn his team all over again.
- How will Rondo be without having to run offenses for Ray?
- How will KG stand up to a full season at center?
- How long will Paul Pierce be able to play?
- How will Brandon Bass play now that he’s got a long-term deal?
- What will Jeff Green even be?
I could go on. And it’s this kind of approach that makes Doc great for the Olympic team. Whether it’s superstar players or an under-23 team, Doc has the right mindset for dealing with everyone because he understands what they’re like, he understands what it takes to win, and he is strong enough to command the respect that it takes to rein some of these guys in.
I’ve become an unabashed Doc Rivers fan. Just like he says… he earns it every year.