A Roster to Channel Doc's Inner Bob Boone
"I tell you what," Rivers declared, "You give me [Rajon] Rondo and Avery [Bradley] and Jason Terry and Courtney Lee and I'll take that four-guard rotation over any other in the league."
Whoa. Dem der is fightin' words. The Boston Celtics have the best four-guard rotation in the NBA. Like I said, whoa. I'm not sure that Doc is prone to overstatement. I'm inclined to say he isn't. But this quote did get me to thinking about Doc. I was reminded of an observation that I largely kept to myself back when Doc Rivers sucked (insert smiley face) and everyone wanted him fired.
It struck me that one of Doc's problems might have been that he tried to manage basketball games like Bob Boone managed baseball games. Bob Boone was an All-Star catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Without Googling his name, and then choosing the Wiki result, I'm going to assume he made it to the Hall of Fame, too. Catchers are typically pretty damn smart, especially the good ones. Bob Boone was no different. We saw those smarts on display when he became a manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Boone reduced each baseball game to a series of a thousand decisions, and he made 988 of them for his team. People quibbled with some of the decisions, but in the end, it wasn't the decisions so much as the micromanagement that made his career as manager less successful than his career as a player.
I remember thinking Doc managed basketball games in a similar fashion. Boone was fond of experimenting with personnel, particular lineups and batting orders. Doc has shown a propensity for this, too. When a starter has gotten injured for any period of time, Doc seems to revel in choosing just the right replacement. During the championship season, Doc inserted Brian Scalabrine for Kevin Garnett when the latter was injured so as to not upset the rest of the rotation. Later on, he opted Big Baby to fill in for an injured Kendrick Perkins because he had a hunch that Baby would neutralize Tim Duncan with his size (Doc was right). Here, apparently, I poke fun at Doc for experimenting with Gabe Pruitt when Tony Allen was injured (speaking of whom, we all remember the outcome when Doc chose Tony Allen to start for an injured Rajon Rondo at Staples in December of 2007).
I don't know if I've demonstrated beyond all doubt that Doc is a tinkerer. But let's say he is. Well, I'll be damned if this isn't the perfect team for Doc to coach.
Doc's excited about a four-guard rotation of Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, and Avery Bradley. When an opposing guard is big and unwieldy for small guys to defend, the roster offers up Jeff Green and his 6-8, James-Posey-type frame for Doc counter with.
Next we move to power forward. Doc has three guys with varying abilities to manage: Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, and Jared Sullinger. I didn't mention Kevin Garnett because he's now a center. Or is he? There has been no shortage of pundits who have observed that the Atlantic Conference is loaded with really big Bigs, the kind of bigs KG hates to defend. I know one player on the Celtics' roster who seems to thrive against the Bynums, Griffins, and Duncans of the world. Yup, you guessed it. Darko Milicic. If Darko can average 20 minutes against the big Bigs, that will really increase the odds that KG stays healthy this season, not to mention give Doc extra options to micromanage the games as he desires.
This is probably too much to ask from Darko. But it looks like he was up to the task as recently as two years ago.
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