Patience, young grasshopper. It’s a virtue, they say.
And Doc Rivers has it in spades.
There can be no denying Doc’s patience, after Doc told reporters yesterday he wouldn’t make any lineup changes despite the Celtics’ overwhelmingly mediocre play. While Doc is standing by the starters who won him a championship, here’s a look at how some other coaches might have responded while coaching the Celtics to a similar prolonged spell of losing.
Don Nelson – After two losses, Nelson would have clashed with Rajon Rondo, infuriating the rising star and forcing him to ask for a trade. By the fifth loss, Nelson would have had half the D-League playing for the Celtics, with a starting lineup including Cartier Martin, Diamon Simpson and Antonio Anderson.
Stan Van Gundy – Van Gundy would have gone through larynx surgery by now, after spending two months ruining that voice box of his. He then would have been re-admitted into the hospital a second time, this time following a heart attack. During his second trip to the hospital, he would have been screaming, “It isn’t me who needs heart surgery! It’s Vince Carter!”
Mike Dunleavy – Dunleavy would have signed Steve Novak, just so he could insert him, completely cold, into a tie game with less than ten seconds remaining.
Jim O’Brien – Desperate for a lack of perimeter shooting off the bench, O’Brien would have traded for the multi-talented Andray Blatche. Then, he would have transformed him into strictly a three-point shooter, and taught him a little shimmy to perform after big buckets.
Flip Saunders – Saunders’s first move would have been to install a 24/7 security team inside the Celtics’ locker room. After that, he would have screamed about how his team was pissing all over its legs, and reminisced with KG about Mark Madsen.
Mike D’Antoni – Upset by having the NBA’s first-ranked defense at his disposal, D’Antoni’s first move would be firing Tom Thibodeau. “We try to score around here, and we aren’t concerned with anything else,” D’Antoni would explain.
Phil Jackson – In between LSD trips, Jackson would have found the time to recommend a nice book to each player on his team. For Pau Gasol, the book would have beem, “How a Seven-Footer Learns To Cope with Being Soft.” For Lamar Odom, “What to do When You Get the Ugliest Sister.”
It remains to be seen whether Doc’s stubborn unwillingness to make changes will be the right move in the long run, but it’s safe to say he’s handled losing better than some of these other coaches would have.
You can say what you want about Doc, but staying loyal to his team and having faith that his players will pull it together certainly beats signing Steve Novak as an end-of-game specialist.