Boston Celtics: 2012SummerForecast
Doc Rivers isn't just one of the best in-game managers in the league, he's the complete package. He's a phenomenal speaker, whether it's the pregame pep talk or sitting in as a TV analyst (like he did with the London Olympics). Off the floor, Rivers is also a persuasive recruiter, just ask Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, who are members of the Celtics now in large part because of Rivers' offseason sales pitch.
So we preface Day 12 of our Summer Forecast by noting this isn't an attack on Rivers' coaching abilities (there's a reason he's making $7 million per season). It's simply that no one is perfect, so we asked our panel to name us one thing they'd like to see Rivers change next season. It turned out to be one of my favorite forecasts of the series with our panel offering some creative ideas.
About the only real gripe Rivers has constantly heard in recent seasons has been his lack of flexibility in the rotation, something that's often driven up the minutes for Boston's starters. Injuries last season forced Rivers to utilize all his healthy bodies and the rotation deepened a bit at times (at least until the postseason). There have also been complaints that Rivers doesn't utilize his rookies enough, but Greg Stiemsma broke through that wall last season and you have to believe that Jared Sullinger (and the others from this year's rookie class) will get the same opportunity to get on the floor during the 2012-13 campaign.
So what should Rivers change next year? The ballot I'll stuff into the suggestion box is simply this: More creativity with end-of-game plays. We already know that Rivers is one of the best at ATO (after timeout) plays and he needs to get back to being the king of the dry erase board when the Celtics have opportunities to win on the final offensive possession.
Let's be honest, Celtics fans are going to flip if they see another string of Paul Pierce step-backs from the right elbow (at least if they continue to find back iron). It can be part of the rotation, but Rivers needs to shuffle the deck at times. Maybe the loss of Ray Allen will help foster some additional creativity, forcing Boston to reevaluate many of its late-game sets.
I think back a couple seasons to when the Celtics ran a brilliant alley-oop, lob play from Rajon Rondo to Kevin Garnett in the final seconds of a thriller in Philadelphia. The Celtics can steal an extra win or two along the way if Rivers draws up those sort of gems in key situations.
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