Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Another Boston Celtics starter has called out the team’s lack of a set rotation. After falling Monday night to the Detroit Pistons, Isaiah Thomas said a lack of regular substitution patterns could be contributing to the team’s inconsistent play.
“I’m not going to blame just one thing,” he said after scoring 22 points in the 99-94 loss. “But we still don’t really have a rotation. I mean a set rotation.” […]
When asked exactly what he wants from the rotation, the guard said, “I don’t know. A set one, I think, guys know when they’re coming in or coming out. For the most part I know my minutes. But it’s hard for some guys. But as a professional you have to be ready. You can’t put that on coach.”
“We’ll see moving forward how permanent this is,” Lee said Wednesday night after his second straight DNP-CD resulted in a 99-94 loss to the Detroit Pistons. “Obviously I’m very confident I can help a team win. I’d love for that to be the Boston Celtics. So no, I haven’t spoken about that. I haven’t really thought about that yet. Right now it’s about continuing to be ready, and if that was talked about it would be between my agent, the Celtics and other teams.”
After three disturbing losses in four games, the comments coming from the Celtics aren’t sounding very positive. And for a young team that relies more than most on playing together with effort, their words are a bit discouraging.
Which comes first, a set rotation or consistent individual play? Although Thomas said “you can’t put that on coach,” who else is he blaming, really? Rotations are Stevens’ call, and he has tinkered with the lineups throughout the season. But what choice has he had? Obviously, if seven or eight players stood out every game, they would earn consistent minutes, and the rotation would be decided naturally. That hasn’t happened, so the adjustments have continued out of necessity, not just with distribution of minutes but even with the starting lineup.
Isaiah’s comments sound like simple frustration, especially when he admits he doesn’t know exactly what he’s asking for. Actually, Stevens has recently trimmed the rotation by not using a couple of players in each of the past two games. A few more nights like that and perhaps IT will be satisfied. But on the flip side, Lee’s “stay ready” attitude could change if he continues to rack up DNP-CDs.
This is a new type of challenge for Stevens. He can’t satisfy everyone, so it will be interesting to see how he handles it. Maybe Danny Ainge will help him out and not wait for Lee to request a trade.
Related: CSNNE – Lee hasn’t requested trade despite diminishing role | Globe – Celtics frustrated by lack of set rotation | ESPN Boston – David Lee on being out of Boston’s rotation: ‘I disagree with it’
On Page 2: The ’86 Celtics had the best starting five ever
Now here today, another 30 years later, we begin a celebration of the last and perhaps finest of Auerbach’s championship squads: The 1986 Celtics. A team considered by many to be the greatest of all time. A team that won 67 games, and went an all-time best 40-1 at home. A team that posted winning streaks of 8, 9, 13 and 14 games. A team that only dropped one game in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket on its way to knocking off the Rockets in six for yet another Larry O’Brien Trophy. But while you can argue about their place in NBA or even Celtics history, the 1986 team was the perfect example of Red Auerbach’s relentless innovation and mastery of basketball, business, life and the human condition. The starting five alone featured four Hall of Famers, and while amassing that talent in general was its own extraordinary accomplishment, the way that Red did it defied convention, lacked precedent and will never ever be replicated.
The Celtics’ TV outlet, CSNNE, last night began a series marking the 30th anniversary of Boston’s 16th NBA championship. Video segments will air during pregame shows (last night’s first installment can also be viewed on the page linked above).
There’s no doubt in my mind that Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge were the greatest the starting five of all-time. How all five were acquired by Red Auerbach illustrated his genius as a general manager:
- Drafted Bird as a junior eligible, after teams like the Knicks and Bird’s own home state Indiana Pacers unwisely passed him up.
- Traded two draft picks (and no players) for Parish and the draft choice that became McHale.
- Traded a back-up center (Rick Robey) for DJ.
- Drafted Ainge in the second round, even though he was already playing baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays, and won a court case to free Danny from his contract after he decided to give up the diamond.
With a bench led by Hall of Famer Bill Walton, two-time All-Star Scott Wedman, and knockdown shooter Jerry Sichting, the ’86 Cs were not only unbeatable, they were a joy to watch. I miss those days.
Related: CSNNE – Scalabrine: Was ’86 Celtics starting five best in NBA history?
And, finally: Smart supports mentoring
— marcus smart (@smart_MS3) January 6, 2016
January is National Mentoring Month, and Marcus Smart is in the spotlight as the NBA teams up with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership for an initiative called “In Real Life.” It’s a public awareness campaign about the benefits of mentoring, supported by the league, the players’ association and the retired players’ association.
In the video above, Smart speaks about his brother’s death from cancer at an early age, and how his coach at (coincidentally named) Marcus High School helped him deal with that loss.
Congratulations to Marcus for using his experiences to pay it forward and help others.
The Rest of the Links:
MassLive – Boston Celtics analysis: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder frustrated after another winnable game slips away | Isaiah Thomas comes to life late, but Boston Celtics offense falls apart during 99-94 loss to Detroit Pistons | Isaiah Thomas: Tried to recruit Kevin Love; now worried more about supporters than doubters