Dooling shooting for more success
January, 10, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
WALTHAM, Mass. -- While Celtics coach Doc Rivers likes what 12th-year veteran Keyon Dooling provides behind Rajon Rondo, he expressed hesitation Monday in leaning too heavily on Dooling as the primary backup ball-handler, preferring instead to move him off the ball, where he's shown flashes of scoring potential this season.
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via GettyThe Celtics want to see Keyon Dooling shoot more.
That means the Celtics are once again looking for a little point guard help and hope a young player like Avery Bradley or E'Twaun Moore can grasp that role, even if both entered the year with expectations of being utilized more at the shooting guard spot.
"I just want [Dooling] to play," said Rivers. "Keyon, I’m happy with. He’s not playing great, honestly. [But] what I don’t like for Keyon is, I think I have him at point guard way too much. That’s where we are waiting for Avery or E'Twaun -- or someone else -- to give him a lift with the ball-handling duties. I never intended for [Dooling] to be a full-time point guard and right now he is."
With Rajon Rondo averaging more than 36 minutes per game this season, the Celtics really only need a backup point guard on the floor for less than a quarter's worth of time. The trouble is that Moore is making the transition to more of a combo guard after being a college scorer, while Rivers has admitted in the past that Bradley has been weighed down at times with ball-handling responsibilities.
Dooling is averaging 6.8 points and 1.4 assists over 19.1 minutes per game through eight appearances. With only 11 assists, including four in his last four games, Dooling simply hasn't been able to generate much offense as a point guard -- though the second unit as a whole has struggle to generate points -- and has instead thrived when he's aggressively shot the ball (highlighted by a season-high 18 points in a loss to Miami last month).
Its a small sample, but Dooling's field goal attempts per game are down two shots per contest from last year. With a second unit that's leaning heavy on Brandon Bass to shoulder the scoring load, Dooling knows he has to be more assertive.
"In order for our unit to be productive, I have to be a little bit more aggressive offensively," said Dooling. "I think it was just a bit of a learning curve, trying to fit in, trying to play with our guys, as a new guy, and I think our group needs me to be a little more aggressive, offensively."