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Doc Rivers Clarifies Trade Comments on PTI, Says He Was Referring More to Lineup Changes

 

In what served as a not-so-publicized interview in the Celtics blogsophere, Doc Rivers joined the guys at PTI for five good minutes yesterday, a regular interview segment on PTI. Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser threw a variety of good questions at Doc, including asking for additional clarification on his eye-opening comments after the Pistons loss Sunday night. Here is a sampling of the interview.

Is this team simply turning it on and off right now?

Rivers: Well I hope not. The reason is, it’s not the same group. We have 9 new players on this team. I keep hearing that and that may be true with some of the guys, and maybe even with some of the new guys think “well that’s what has been done in the past.” This group has to learn about how to play together first before you think about turning it off and turning it on. That may be true, I hope not and as you know, no coach wants to hear that.

You said the other day might have to make changes after the game Sunday night. Do you still feel that way?

Change means a lot of things. I think in this day or time when you say changes you think trades. We’re pretty consistent lately with our lineups since when Avery’s come back. Changes mean [changing the lineups] as well. When I say changes, it can mean a lot of things and a lot of times, it’s that [changes to the lineup].

So when you talk about changes, you aren’t talking about trading people. I thought I heard you say at one point you were going to get people out of here. Do you still believe that?

It’s not volcanic, except it was after a game and everything is volcanic after the game. That is true though if at some point we feel like this is not the right group, we will have to do that. We are not going to do anything though that hurts this team in the long run. This is an interesting group because we do know that we’re getting older with some of our guys. We also have added some younger guys. There is patience on one end, but we have to make sure we have the right mix of guys. That’s a question we don’t know get to know for awhile, so that was more what I was saying.

  • CG12

    One of Doc's defining features as a coach, which has earned him a lot of grief over the years, is that he sticks with what he wants to do, pretty much without regard to short-term results or problems. Fans are always shouting, "bench X" and "play Y" and "Doc hates rookies" etc. Doc just sticks with what he does, and that has generally worked for him in recent years. I have defended him when he sticks with the old guys and doesn't play the tantalizing new/unknown guy, but I wonder how we will know when the time has come to end that philosophy. There is point where guys just aren't what you thought they would be, and you need to move in another direction. Determining what that point is is what gets coaches and GMs the big bucks.

    • CG12

      With this team, as currently constituted, I would prefer a middle path to "we do what we do" and "bench the old guys and give the young guys their minutes." I think the rotations should stay pretty much as they are, but with a lower minutes burden on Pierce, KG, and Rondo, and with the potential for a bench guy to basically jump over a started on certain nights. If PP is in the midst of one of his nights where he is front-rimming everything, getting stripped in the lane, and unable to finish at the rim, recognize that it isn't his night, let him get some rest, and give Jeff Green his minutes. Doc has generally appeared unwilling to do that, giving guys their normal minutes allocation pretty much no matter what. Fouls and matchups might shorten somebody's minutes, but that's about it.

      • Phil725

        Couldn't agree with this more. Doc currently seems to be sticking with the idea that the starters 'deserve' those minutes, even though he's also questioned their effort multiple times. I don't claim to know much about the complicated world of ego control, which Doc has proven to be a master of, but if questionable effort and poor play isn't enough to lose those deserved minutes on some nights, what is?

        We have seen this starter/bench minute shift with one group this year at least; Sully and Bass. On most nights, it's just foul trouble keeping Sully from playing 35 minutes, but he still usually plays more than Bass either way. That said, Bass has been atrocious all year, Sullinger has been excellent at pretty much everything, and Bass isn't nearly as established as guys like Pierce and Rondo. It seems like another step up to cut some of those other guys minutes. He did do it during the Phoenix game, but that was possibly the worst starter game of the year 'and' best bench game at the same time.

        • CG12

          It is a tribute to how terrible Bass has been and how good Sully has been that this has happened. For better or worse, Doc definitely thinks that it is better to have your guy's backs and keep them on your side, than it is to administer the toughest basketball love available – sitting someone to deliver a message. And I am thinking basically of Rondo. If he can't get himself sat with the lazy D and terrible turnovers, then he is clearly playing pretty much no matter what he does. And, as I said in my first post, that approach has worked for Doc the last number of years, but I do worry that it will just implode one of these days. Here's hoping Doc's faith in his guys is well placed, and that he retains the flexibility to recognize that sometimes tweaks need to be made in mid-stream when your premises in constructing your lineup and rotations at the start of the season turn out not to be true.

          • smalltownID

            Good comments CG and Phil

  • JEFF ROTHj

    despite what doc says the celtics have a major weakness.Opponents are killing them driving to the basket. They are giving up too many easy shots. Every team is exploiting this weakness including the worst teams in the NBA.They need a strong franchise center that would be a major defensive player.KG can not do it alone.They need another Bill Russell.Also, the present team is happy to take jump shots all game.This is not going to get it done.When the team takes it to the hoop good things happen.Do not settle for jump shots.
    Danny, please make it happen.The celtics will not be in the playoffs if a dominant and franchise center is not found.
    major celtic fan.
    JR

    • Ersatz

      Yeah, Danny, get Russell out of the cryogenic chamber you've been keeping him in.

      • Josh_5

        You mean Morgan Freeman, silly.

    • Vincent

      There are not too many major franchise centers around, certainly none when you're drafting in the 20s every year. So let's be realistic, please. There are 28-30 GMs looking for a franchise center every year.

  • emg

    This interview is total BS. Doc was absolutely talking 100% about trades. Doc talks every single post game about how challenging it is to work with shifting lineups. This was not more of that.

  • emg

    my read on this is that since Danny was poker faced in his interviews about trades and downplayed the idea of making moves (after the 'streak') it means Doc and Danny have *together* already come to conclusions about who they're leaning toward giving up on.

  • Vince L.

    Plugged directly into the ESPN Trade Machine, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green for Josh Smith of the Hawks may be the deal Danny and Doc are looking for. While there are many possible trades that get the Celtics some of the great and big rebounders of the NBA, including Demarcus Cousins and Marcin Gortat, the Celtics might want to look at someone who can impact the glass from a different position. The Small-Forward spot has been largely dominated by Paul Pierce (5.7 rebounds per game) and Jeff Green (3.1 rpg), and based off of the Celtics’ last few games, this may be where change is necessary.
    The salary of Green and Lee combined add up to about the salary of J-smoove (8.3 rpg!), whose rebounding would get the C's more possessions when Sully and KG can't get things going. These are key possessions that could potentially decide the fate of the game, and I really can't sustain another loss to Cleveland after four whole quarters of the hoping not to have to.
    This trade is also ideal for the Hawks, especially due to recent injuries on their roster. Hawks’ Shooting guard Louis Williams is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, which opens up possible trade markets for potential SGs for the Hawks. Courtney Lee is currently averaging about 7.1 points per game, only a few away from the Hawks’ starting SG Kyle Korver. Jeff Green would be able to hit shots from the perimeter that Smith could not, which would add efficiency to the already deadly three point shot that has the Hawks’ ranked 5th in that category.

    • sightline

      The Hawks are not going to trade Smith for those pieces. It doesn't improve thier team, while it makes the Celtics much stronger. Anyway, if Green can become consistent then he way be worth keeping. There is something wrong with the chemistry of the team, its effort and attitude that's missing. And Doc is trying to play it down because it weakens there bargaining power when trading, if other GM's think they are desperate to offload players they will low ball the Celts all day.

      • Vince L.

        If it is chemistry and not just individual players, then how do you fix that? Or are the celtics just doomed to a sub five hundred season as paul's knees start to go and KG approaches forty. Whether or not this is KG's last season can factor into short term trades.

  • john

    Doc needs to walk away now. The man can't coach period. Short and quick …..

  • Way Lowe

    Lets go BC!

  • raf.raf

    get fab melo back doc and bench PP for a while..

  • http://www.openshawsmiles.com/ dentist modesto

    Doc Rivers Clarifies Trade Comments on PTI, Says He Was Referring More to Lineup Changes: I think he is right to some extent.

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