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.
It’s practically inevitable in a sport where the average player owns a guaranteed contract worth twice that of his coach. There’s a reason Patriots players still fear Bill Belichick after 13 seasons, and there’s a reason Red Sox players stuffed themselves with fried chicken at the end of Terry Francona’s eight-year run.
This is something that we have heard around this time the past two seasons. Are the Celtics struggling because they are tuning out Doc Rivers? While there is no clear cut way to break it down and find out the correct answer, we can look at indicators and make an educated guess, though that method can prove to be faulty as well (See: Boston Celtics 2009-10). This argument will likely have two very different opinions on it, one which strongly denies that the struggles of late are to blame on the coach, and the other that sees some truth to this article. Both have very realistic reasons to believe their point, but we do have to wonder, has Docs’ message finally started to fall upon deaf ears?
In the early 80s, with the Celtics as an undisciplined and out of order team, the Celtics decided they needed to bring in a disciplinarian to straighten things out. Bill Fitch came in and shook things up and lead the Celtics to a championship. The only problem with a guy like that though is that there can only be so many dramatic speeches, “must win” games, and special meetings to bring to the attention of a certain aspect of the game before things start to get ignored by his players. That is why Fitch didn’t last long in Boston. While Doc isn’t as brazen as Fitch was, his value on defense is something that a player like Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo have heard for a significant amount of time. Is it any indication that the two players that have heard this the longest, and are expected to be the leaders of this team, have been the quietest during this slump?
“They want the easy way out,” Rivers told reporters. “They want to win easy, and I told them the only way you’re going to win easy is you’re going to have to play hard. The harder you play, the easier the games become.
Doc Rivers had a quote similar to this earlier in the season when he saw his team glazing through a game against a mediocre opponent, concerning is the fact that a similar quote is surfacing again this week with similar impact on his team. Greg Popovich is the only coach in the NBA with more tenure than Doc, but lets face it, Popovich is a mouse compared to Doc when it comes to in game approach, yelling on the sidelines, ect. What’s clear is that the young guys still get it and are still attentive to Doc’s message. Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, and even Jeff Green have all been making improvements this season; we know that KG is always going to give his best, but it is the two longest tenured Celtics on the roster that seem to be giving the lax performance this season, rather than leading the team and being an extension of the coach as a leader is expected to be, these two have seemed to remain distant and uninvolved, not coincidentally the names Pierce and Rondo have dropped into the trade conversation across the league; what is left to be determined is that if in fact those two are tuning their coach out, will Danny Ainge have the brass to make a bold statement and trade two fan favorites for the better of the team?
Boston Herald: Doc’s words unheard- Steve Bulpett , CSNNE: Cavs’ latest team to beat slumping Celtics- A. Sherrod Blakely , CSNNE: Pierce leadership not wavering amidst up and down play- A. Sherrod Blakely , NESN: Celtics Can’t Rely on Past Success to Carry Underperforming Team Into Contention (Podcast), Boston Herald: Jared Sullinger proving critics wrong – Marla Ridenour , ESPN Boston: C’s still searching for consistency- Chris Forsberg