Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered a look back at the 2008-09 season, as well as a look ahead to his team’s needs going forward, during an interview with the Dennis & Callahan Show this morning. He admitted a sense of disappointment that his team did not have the opportunity to pursue another championship without a full complement of players.
‘The only thing that bothers me about the way the postseason ended was, you look at Kevin (Garnett), you look at Leon (Powe) and you just say, ‘Darn’we didn’t have a real chance to defend our title with our best stuff,’’ said Rivers. ‘That’s real tough for a coach and for a team.’
Rivers addressed a number of topics during his interview, including ways in which the Celtics need to improve and his own coaching future. Among them:
WHETHER THE SURGERY ON KEVIN GARNETT’S KNEE MIGHT BE MORE FAR-REACHING THAN PREVIOUSLY SUGGESTED:
I don’t think there will be much more (than reported). I think it will be the strained tendon and the bone spur. What they started thinking at the end was that maybe the bone spur had something to do, maybe it started rubbing against the tendon and that’s what kept it inflamed. But they don’t know that. That’s just an assumption.
ON OTHER INJURIES THAT IMPACTED THE TEAM AND THAT MAY REQUIRE SURGERY
Ray Allen had a hamstring problem throughout the Orlando series that was not getting better. Paul had some bone spurs that may need to be removed as well. (Kendrick Perkins) may have to have a procedure on his shoulder’¦ In Ray’s case, I thought his hamstring was bothering him a lot. That could have had an effect on him (during the Magic series).
ON THE TEAM’S NEED TO ADD DEPTH TO ITS BENCH THIS OFFSEASON
Just think this year if Kevin was healthy and Leon was healthy, that makes our bench 10 deep’¦Those two guys being out really shortened our bench.
But we have to improve our team. There’s no doubt about that. We don’t have to make any changes, but definitely have to make some additions.
No. 1, the one spot no one talked about all year, was the small forward spot. We need a small forward who can defend, who can make shots and give Paul (Pierce) a blow. I thought Paul, all year, had to guard the best guys all game. Whenever we took him out, we went small. We put Ray Allen in at small forward, which is a tough matchup. You could see it in the Orlando series. You were almost scared to take Paul off the floor because when you did, Ray Allen was now guarding the Terkoglus or the Rashard Lewises of the world. They went straight to the post, just like every other team did.
ON THE IMPACT OF KEVIN GARNETT’S DEFENSIVE ABSENCE ON THE REST OF THE TEAM
We didn’t run out of gas in the playoffs. We ran out of gas trying to get to the playoffs in a lot of ways. Every game was different and harder once Kevin left. Our defense suffered. (Rivers noted that opponents averaged 88 points per game against the Celtics last postseason, and 102 points per game this year.) I don’t think much more needs to be said about our defense, and how important Kevin Garnett is.
HOW MANY 15- TO 18-FOOT JUMPERS SHOULD RONDO TAKE THIS OFFSEASON?
He can’t take enough, obviously. I thought the series changed when Orlando decided that they basically weren’t going to play Rondo anymore. It’s very difficult for him to be effective from that point on. Obviously, he did on the rebounding side of things for us, but as far as creating plays, that not only hurt Rondo, but that hurt Paul and Ray as well, because they were using his man to double-team.
That’s a shot he’s going to have to make. We knew that. We knew that two years ago. It made it easier for them to do that because Kevin wasn’t out on the floor. When you have three other shooters out on the floor, it’s not as easy.
DO YOU REASSESS YOUR OWN FUTURE AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?
I do it every year. I have every intention of coming back, but I would be lying to you if I said that every year, I didn’t sit back over the last couple, with the family. We sit back and we think, ‘What do we need to do, and what do I need to do?’ I just try to gauge it on how my kids are doing and if they’re happy. I’m sure there will be a day or some time when I’ll say no, I’ve got to stay and do family things. But I have every intention of coming back.
I love coaching. I see myself coaching a long time. But I also see myself as a coach who will take a break to re-energize. I believe in that. I love, what’s the analogy? A teacher taking a sabbatical and coming back. I clearly will do that someday. In the next two or three years, I think that has to happen. I just think it’s good for a coach to do that. It makes him a better coach.
WHO IS MORE LIKELY TO RETURN: MARBURY OR DAVIS?
Baby, it will probably come down to what he can get on the open market. With Steph, it will probably come down to what we can get on the open market.
WILL TOM THIBODEAU BE BACK?
I hope he’s not back…(The 76ers job) will be a tough one to get. Tom’s not a good guy ‘ he’s a great guy. And he’s a terrific coach. So I’m really pulling for him.
WHO WILL WIN THE TITLE?
I don’t know. Honestly, I can tell you I really don’t care.