Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Doc Rivers, inept head coach?

Watching last night's Game 3 between Los Angeles and Boston, has made me wonder why people call Doc Rivers a 'solid' head coach. Sure, it is based on the 66 wins the Celtics compiled during the regular season, finishing with the league's best record. Really, though, how much of that was due primarily to the fact that the Celtics have three upper echelon players in the NBA? All of these guys (Pierce, Garnett, Allen), also compliment each other perfectly as you have the slasher, the shooter and the post man. Garnett, along with assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, are the two guys mainly responsible for the defensive resurgence of the team as Garnett's intensity and Thibodeau's scheme have turned Boston's fortunes in every defensive category. Rivers just seemed like he rode the wave of the talent on the team, to the 66 wins. Obviously a coach cannot win without talent and the NBA, for the most part, is a league where the teams with the most talent win. That being said, managing to win 66 games with the talent that Rivers had is still excellent but it doesn’t automatically turn Doc Rivers from lame duck into good head coach, especially when you take a look at Rivers in Game coaching ability.

In the postseason, some of Rivers coaching moves, and adjustments or lack thereof have been questionable at best. Recently, putting Sam Cassell on the floor while not giving House any playing time doesn't make much sense. Now we all understand (though it seems to have taken Rivers longer than anyone else) that Rajon Rondo has little offensive game. From that standpoint giving another point guard significant playing time in place of Rondo makes sense. But, why Cassell? Cassell comes in the game, he is a liability defensively, hasn't shot well the entire playoffs, and on top of all that loves to shoot. What exactly is Cassell going to do for you that Eddie House cannot? House is much better defensively, has more range and is a lot more disciplined than Cassell is. I understand that Cassell is a "battle tested veteran" but what good does that do you if he can't make a shot?

Earlier in the postseason, Rivers seemed to refuse to try and get Ray Allen into the games. Several games, Ray Allen would seemingly go for quarters without getting a good shot. Meanwhile you see Rajon Rondo taking more shots than Ray Allen, which should NEVER happen.

Finally, Rivers needs to get on Kevin Garnett. Garnett is a jump shooter, but whenever he gets on the block, positive things happen for the Celtics. Normally he gets double teamed, and that makes life much easier on everyone else. Last night, Garnett stayed out on the perimeter and started out 1-10 and pretty much struggled the entire night. Why doesn't Doc put him on the post? Is Garnett allergic to the post? It makes life so much easier for anyone else. Every single play should start with KG on the left or right block.

I understand why a coach would get credit when his team goes 66-16, but Doc is probably the worst coach on a 60+ win team that I have ever witnessed. He is the Herman Edwards of basketball.

No comments: