Doc Rivers goes on D&C to talk Ray Allen, state of Celtics and his failed pursuit of Tim Duncan
|11.01.12 at 10:29 am ET|
Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the Dennis and Callahan Show Thursday morning to discuss his relationship with Ray Allen, the Celtics’ season-opening loss to the Heat, how he viewed his team going forward. (To listen to the entire interview, click here.)
STATE OF THE TEAM
I’m a little disappointed in it because we’re behind. They’re working. We’re going to get it right, it’s just going to take a little time.
With defense, you first have to have the buy-in, which I think we have, and then the trust. Then the execution. I think we’re in the execution faze. When you have so many different guys and new guys, when things don’t go right, their first thought is to do another coverage and when you do that on your own you’re team defense breaks down.
HOW IS THE TEAM WITHOUT RAY ALLEN
We replaced Ray nicely, but having said that they’re going to make a big deal about it because Ray is a good player. He’s probably going to be a Hall-of-Famer, one of the greatest shooters who ever played the game and won a title with us. When a guy leaves and goes to the team that knocked you out the last two years, I think people make a big deal of it. I get that part of it. But we’ve moved on, and I’ve moved on the minute Ray said he wanted to go play for Miami.
I think we’re potentially better, but I don’t think we are right now. The continuity of our team has to settle in. On paper it looks great, but the key for us is everyone buying into their roles and understanding their roles. I think before the season starts everyone is happy, and then the season starts and you start figuring out, ‘Wait, I’m not going to get as many shots or as many minutes.’ Then you have what kind of character you have with your team.
You just don’t know guys until you coach guys. I will say this, I think we’ve got a great group of guys. I don’t anticipate that being a problem, but you never know.
VIEWING THE NEW BACKCOURT ROTATION
Lee is a terrific defender, makes open shots, has a nice in-between game. You don’t need to run offense for him to score, he’ll score through the offense. And when you have Rondo, who I’ll need to be more aggressive, with Kevin and Paul, that’s a pretty good role in that lineup. It’s really the same thing Avery gave for us last year, the same kind of fit. Jason Terry is a shot-maker. He’s a guy who can create his own shot, he can create his shot through offense, and that’s great. The same thing with Barbosa, he just has tremendous feet. I think Barbosa will be used as a change-of-pace guy. When he comes in, I told him before the Miami game, because there was no way he knew half our sets, ‘Just go try and score. Just be as aggressive as possible, and I will call you back if you go over the line if I think you’re over the line.’ And I think he did a pretty good job of that.
IMPORTANCE OF GETTING AVERY BRADLEY BACK
It’s huge, because the ball pressure that he can supply takes up clock. One of the more disappointing things, and there was a lot of them defensively in the Miami game, we didn’t apply a lot of ball pressure. They kind of started their offense at 18 and 20 seconds. When Avery is on the floor teams don’t typically get into their offense until 14 and 12 seconds, so right away your defense is better because you have less time to defend. The second thing is you can put him on the best guard and you don’t need a lot of help with him. Unless you don’t have to help a player, the more your team can be a better team defensively.
Physically, mentally. He’s tough. He’s got great anticipation. He has great feet. He was blessed with great feet, great athleticism. But more importantly, he’s got great instincts.
COULD RAJON RONDO SUPPLY MORE BRADLEY-LIKE BALL PRESSURE?
I think he could, but I think it would be hard to run the team as aggressive as I need him to be offensively and do it full-time. I think that would be asking a lot.
ENOUGH SIZE ON ROSTER?
I would say rebounding and size, I like our size as far as the guys getting off the bench. They haven’t performed in a team role yet, so I don’t know the answer. I like them. I think Darko [Milicic] is going to supply us well. [Jared] Sullinger is not tall, but he has size. I think he will help. Collins, we have him. We have Wilcox. We have a lot of bigs, I just don’t know yet if they fit or how well they’ll play.
IMPORTANCE OF HOME COURT
You can’t take anything for granted. And I will say this, I do think home court matters against the better teams. I think our division is way better, and I think our conference is better. So some of those games that you may have felt a year or two years or three years ago we can win anywhere, those teams are better now. If you won a Game 7, you would love to have it at home. We had one at home last year and we won that. We had one on the road last year and we lost that. I do think home court is important, and I think that’s what you tell your team. You don’t talk about game-for-game, but you talk about long-term goals.
DID TALK TO RAY ALLEN AFTER AGREED TO JOIN MIAMI?
I wish I would have talked to him. Honestly, Ray changed his number, and not because of this. My guess is that he was getting a lot of calls. So I never had a chance to talk to him. That was the first time I had seen him or talked to him, during the game on the floor, so I wish I would have had a chance to talk to him.
ONE OF FEW FAILED RECRUITING ENDEAVORS
I lost a bigger one, and probably learned a lot of lessons from that. Tim Duncan in Orlando. We never had him, but I thought we had him turned and we lost him. So I’ll always remember that one.
I guess the other one would be David West last year, more because David basically told me he was coming. So I’m siting at home and read the next day he’s going somewhere else. I would love to say it’s me, but it’s because we had Kevin, Ray, Paul and Rondo. Guys want to play with them and that helps me recruit.
WAS KEVIN GARNETT’S SNUB OF ALLEN REAL?
Kevin is really genuine. I don’t know if the word is mad or disappointed. I don’t know what the word is. Kevin has his own code, and God bless him. I love his mentality. I think it’s refreshing some times.
CAN RONDO BE THE TEAM LEADER?
Rondo is one of our leaders, he’s a point guard, he has the ball in his hands. He’s still learning leadership. As far as whose team it is, I’ll always laugh and say, ‘The last time I checked, it’s Wyc Grousbeck’s team.’ But Rondo is clearly one of our leaders, and probably definitely our most important player.
WORRIED ABOUT RONDO’S EMOTIONS GETTING IN WAY
His value of our team is too important. He’s extremely emotional. You can call it immaturity or whatever, but he is emotional. I always told our players when you have that emotional combustion — we call it emotional hijack — try and put the team above yourself, because usually when you’re having those things it’s with you and that person and you’ve forgotten about the team for that moment, and it happens, but we’re hoping it doesn’t.
THOUGHTS ON RONDO/DWYANE WADE DUST-UP
I didn’t think it was that hard, honestly. I argued against the flagrant (foul). Look, Wade has committed a lot of hard fouls on Rondo. We forget about the elbow injury that Rondo had. That was created by Dwyane Wade. I don’t think that was a punk move unless that one was too.
I didn’t think that was a big deal, I really didn’t. Some of the other things he can stop. The thing as the end of the game the other night, he’s emotional. The saying, ‘I would rather kindle a fire than start a fire.’ I like his fire, I want him to keep that fire.
HOW RONDO VIEWS NEW BACKCOURT MATES
He likes his team, likes it a lot. But we have to turn it into the team we think we can be, and we’re not even close, in my opinion, right now.
TOO MANY GUARDS?
They accept it, they embrace it and they think it’s good for the team. It’s refreshing to have that.
WHAT SAW WITH MIAMI
Every one of their good players got every good shot they wanted. If you had told me that, I would have thought we would have lost by 50.
They’re better for sure. They’re better because they won. Forget about the additions of Ray or Rashard Lewis. They have a couple of things we don’t have. No. 1, they just won a title, so they have that championship swagger confidence. We have it with some of our guys, some don’t. They also know exactly who they are, and that to me was the difference in the game. They know they’re identity, they know their roles. They didn’t make many changes, and you can see that in the way they played the other night.