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.
The question posed to Stevens and his Celtics players Saturday was whether Boston is in need of that sort of go-to guy, whether it be for a late-game 3-pointer, or just someone who can take the ball and stop an opponent’s run.
“I think it could change game to game,” said Stevens. “That’s part of who we are and that’s OK. I don’t think that we would be able to say, ‘This person is going to be the go-to guy every single night.’ Because I think numerous guys can make that shot. But it takes a special group to wrap their arms around that and get there. Usually it doesn’t happen in the first month of the season. Usually it happens over time. Usually, it’s a case of matchups. And then it’s usually a case of guys coming together and really really deciding that we gotta get our best look, and if our best look is our third option, we trust he’ll knock it down.”
ESPN Boston – Tourniquet needed: Stopping the bleeding
Since the beginning days of the NBA, plenty of successful teams have had that one “go-to” guy. Some teams had a few but it was usually that one guy that you knew would always have the ball when the game got tight in various scenarios. The Celtics have had several in their history from Bob Cousy to Sam Jones to John Havlicek to Larry Bird all the way down to Paul Pierce. It’s what many great championships have. Not necessarily to take that final shot but to stop the bleeding of a run the opponent is going on. Perhaps it’s not entirely required but it is important. With Rajon Rondo still out, Jeff Green is supposed to be that guy for this team. The Celtics however, don’t really feel that way.
Jeff Green, who was 0 for 7 in the second half, is the de facto go-to guy on offense with Rajon Rondo rehabbing from ACL surgery. He maintained that having multiple options in those type of situations is better for Boston.
“I look at it as a blessing that we have multiple guys that can make plays, not just one guy,” said Green. “If we had one guy to focus on, one focal point, now we have multiple guys that can make plays and who can do good things out there on the floor to help us win. It’s hard to pinpoint who is going to make the plays, I look at it as a blessing.”
Echoed Gerald Wallace, “We don’t have one, but we don’t necessarily need one. I’ve never liked teams that have go-to guys, because to me they are easy to guard. You just load up on them. My main thing is, if you can execute your offense, get what you want out of your offense, then that’s your go-to play. Every go-to guy has a play to get him where he wants to be. You just have to put a guy in that position to make a shot.”
Coach Stevens, Green and Wallace all make solid points. But at the same time, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have that one guy that you know is on your team that will demand the ball in that instance. To step up in the huddle and command his team that he’ll lead them. It’s great to have options and to have your opponent guessing. But it can also be a detriment if guys are too willing to give up that role to a teammate. Sometimes, like the departed KG used to say, you need to be the asshole and take over a game. When the Bucks were tooling the C’s in the 4th, would anyone have had a problem if Green (or anyone for that matter) simply took over and stopped the run?
It doesn’t mean that they start launching stupid shots or forcing the issue. No, it’s saying “Screw this, I’m leading these guys now.” It’s performances like Pierce’s Game 2 in Atlanta in the first round of 2012 when Rondo was suspended and Pierce knew he had to take over. It’s then Rondo returning the favor in the final 5 minutes of Game 7 vs Philly at home when Pierce fouled out. It’s Pierce’s legendary performance against the Nets in the comeback Game 3 vs the Nets in 2002. Sometimes taking over does involve the entire team, like in Game 4 in 2008 vs the Lakers, but because Pierce was the established go-to guy, it allowed everyone else to open up their game.
In the Globe, the was a part of the Green quote that to me is troubling:
Before he launched a 3-pointer at the buzzer from more than 50 feet away, Green’s previous field goal attempt was a missed layup at the 4:15 mark.
“Ask Coach,” Green said about being the go-to guy down the stretch. “He’s the one who draws the plays. If he tells me to get the ball, I’ll go get it. It’s not challenging, I look at it as a blessing to have multiple guys who can make plays.”
I understand what Green is saying here but called me too old school but I personally don’t like this type of comment. Sure, you want to defer to your coach and play within the framework of the team, always. But I want my leader to want to demand the ball. I want you to have to RAKE IT from his hands, to fight him on it. Not the other way around. It’s part of what makes great players great: they demand the ball. The Celtics are figuring out all of these things right now and it’ all part of the rebuilding, re-learning phase. It’s painful and it takes a long time so keep those belts buckled. It will stay bumpy all year.
Boston Globe – Celtics working to avoid another late-game meltdown | CSNNE – Celtics still looking for ‘go-to guy’
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Rearview mirror: C’s won’t dwell on loss | Notebook: Sullinger gets back to work | Boston Globe – Bill Russell guest list fitting tribute to a great man (Sunday Notes) | Boston Herald – Selfish Celtics in need of assistance | Olynyk took left turn | CSNNE – Sullinger: Zone defense ‘caught us off guard’ | Stevens learning that ‘hindsight is 20-20’ | Sports Illustrated – Celtics’ history affords Brad Stevens freedom to rebuild at own pace