COMMENTARY | This year's Boston Celtics look awfully different. A large part of the roster was turned over this offseason, and it's still a little strange not seeing Doc Rivers yelling out plays from the bench.
Rivers was a major headline during an extremely busy offseason where Danny Ainge essentially hit the reset button. The Los Angeles Clippers finally got the high-level coach that they had been missing; sorry, Vinny Del Negro. It's always tough to see a championship coach leave, but it was a smart move by Ainge to let Doc join a winning team.
The Celtics aren't the feisty contender that we've become accustomed to. There are a lot of factors here, but do the Celtics miss Doc Rivers?
Ainge found a superb replacement
It doesn't seem right that it took this long for Brad Stevens to get an NBA head coaching job. He's an extremely bright basketball mind that should have plenty of success away from college, and it makes losing Doc a little easier.
Right now, Stevens isn't the coach that Doc is. He will develop with his young team, and he has what it takes to be one of the league's best. While the roster figures itself out, Stevens will make all of the necessary adjustments.
This conversation would be completely different if Ainge didn't find grab one of the hottest commodities on the market.
Did Doc want to coach this team? How invested would he have been? Would he have even returned? At that point, do the Celtics even want him?
These are all legitimate questions surrounding Doc coaching a rebuilding squad. He's a great coach for a contender, but nobody wants a coach that isn't happy. Would he have been satisfied knowing that he's not fighting for another ring?
An extra draft pick
Draft picks are gold for rebuilding teams. Boston got a 2015 first-round pick for allowing Rivers to leave town, although the pick may not be terribly high because of the anticipated success of the Clippers.
Still, every draft pick is valuable. It's certainly no Cleveland or Milwaukee, but Boston isn't a flashy destination like Los Angeles or Miami. Ainge may have to focus a little more on the draft to find his next star, as free agency may be difficult.
Hey, a first-round pick is a first-round pick. The New York Knicks sure would love to have some. Remember, Boston's best player, Rajon Rondo, was grabbed with the 21st pick.
The state of the roster
Who exactly is on this roster that Doc would need to squeeze the most out of?
Development is important, and Doc is probably a better fit for a veteran team anyway. The patience may not have been there with some of the younger players after years of competing for a title.
The Celtics can still win the Atlantic Division
Boston isn't even at .500, still the Celtics are somehow right in the thick of the Atlantic race. It's early, but the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, who were picked to compete for first in the Atlantic, have major issues.
Brad Stevens has gotten some good basketball out of Jordan Crawford, and he's suddenly made the Celtics an interesting offensive team with Jared Sullinger hitting threes. Although he's still at the beginning of the learning curve, Stevens has been impressive.
Doc is a great coach, but the Celtics simply don't seem to miss him. So far, it looks like everything is working out for all parties involved. The Clippers got their guy, and the Celtics got a very good new guy.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering New England sports for various blogs over the past 4 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
- Sports & Recreation
- Boston Celtics
- Doc Rivers
- Danny Ainge
- Brad Stevens
- Los Angeles Clippers