You can say this about Doc Rivers: He hasn’t hit the panic button.
As many times as he has probably wanted to give his team a smack in the ass (pause) and shake things up, he’s stayed steady in the way he’s handled his squad. With a veteran squad, a coach shouldn’t be too much of a dictator. Most of the time, a veteran team will work problems out by itself, due to the vast knowledge the players have accumulated over the years.
With all the older, smarter players at his disposal, Doc’s leash has been visibly loose. But, with the disappointment rising and time to fix the teams’ problems drawing short, even Doc has to admit it might be time for a change. (Boston Herald)
“We’ve been reluctant to make many changes with our rotations and stuff like that,” he said after last night’s 111-91 loss to Memphis. “Maybe we have to think about that. Maybe not, but we have to think about it, because right now we’re just sketchy. We’re not playing consistent.”
This constitutes a significant step for Rivers and is a measure of his own frustration with the Celts.
“Yeah, but, you know, I’m slow to change,” he said. “I think consistency is better, but I think at times you do have to think about it. I’m not a big believer in change for change. If it’s not going to be a long change, I think that’s a waste of time personally.”
When it comes to change, Doc isn’t exactly Barack Obama. By the time Doc wants to switch something around, it’s probably long past overdue. But what the hell is he going to change?
Almost definitely not the starting lineup. The only change I could see him making to the first five would be to sit Kendrick Perkins in favor of Rasheed Wallace. Say what you want about Rasheed, but he’s outplayed Perk over the last month or so. As Perk continues to lose momentum, Sheed is starting to round into shape, playing down low with the trees like a real big man should. Last night, Sheed was the one bright spot. When he wasn’t posting and toasting, he was going all Rickey Henderson on the Grizzlies. Six steals? For a big man?
I wouldn’t shift the starters, though. Perk hasn’t been playing as well as Sheed, but losing his starting spot would be a further hit to his confidence.
Instead, I’d change the bench. Not necessarily who plays off the bench, but how many minutes, and who they play with. Put Nate Robinson in with Rajon Rondo sometimes, and kill with speed. Or Marquis Daniels at the point with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on the wings, and low-post teams into oblivion. Or a lineup of Robinson, Allen, Pierce, Scal, and Garnett and shoot opponents to death.
Doc ternds to play the second group as a whole unit. Sometimes, I want to shake him and scream, “Doc, this isn’t hockey! There’s no need for line changes!” The Celtics have a versatile and deep team, but Doc hasn’t made use of its versatility. I’m not saying I want him to turn into Don Nelson, but…
Play the matchup games, Doc. Experiment a little. Be the Mad Scientist.
The Celtics would be better for it.