Is Doc Rivers' Coaching a Problem or the Solution for Middling Boston Celtics?

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Is Doc Rivers' Coaching a Problem or the Solution for Middling Boston Celtics?
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Doc Rivers hasn't had a healthy team yet.

The Boston Celtics are in the middle of a rough spell, leading to fingers being pointed. Who's to blame for everything going on right now?

One thing is for sure, though: Doc Rivers is not at fault.

Boston's 14-16 record is far from great, but to say that it's panic time 30 games into the season would be too dramatic and unnecessary.

We live in a time where a coach's job security has to be looked at on a weekly basis. You can be a great coach for 20 games, but go on a multi-game losing streak, and you could be searching the job section of the newspaper sooner than you think.

Still, though, everything going on with the Celtics is more temporary than anything else. They still need time to prove that they can compete in the Eastern Conference. Time to prove that Doc's coaching is the solution, not the problem, for the Boston Celtics.

 

How a Coach Operates

When teams struggle to live up to last season's success or their potential, the first—and easiest—person to blame is the head coach. Not many people truly appreciate the art of being a head coach in the NBA.

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Doc was once a player, so he knows how it can be tough to respect a coach.

A number of coaches were former players that understand what it's like to be on the playing side of things. They went through the rigors of playing 82 games in a season, and sometimes more if they were fortunate enough to make it to the postseason.

Being a former player has its advantages, but it also means that they once had a coach. The negative part about that is that some coaches struggle to get respect from their players. If a former player knows this, then he knows that he might be in for the same thing.

Most of us probably don't understand how difficult it is for a grown man to command the respect of 15 other grown men. What adult wants to hear that they are not doing their job right from another adult?

So, what does that have to do with Doc Rivers?

As far as Doc is concerned, he has proven that he has complete control of the Celtics. He's had control since he took the reins of the team back in 2004.

Immediate termination needs to be considered when a coach has lost control of his team, but that could not be further from the case with the Celtics.

Another unique skill that Doc brings to the bench is how he motivates his players. Watch a Celtics game on television, and you are likely to see Rivers rip into his team during a timeout.

These talks usually take place when Boston is down by a large margin. Doc is a gifted motivator because his team is one of the most likely to come back from the deficit after one of these talks.

You can't just find someone off the streets to do what he does. Coaching isn't the issue; Boston has other problems that it is dealing with...problems that are far out of Rivers' control.

USA TODAY Sports
Avery Bradley will be returning to action soon.

 

How Much Do Injuries Hurt?

When you talk about injuries, only one name needs to be brought into the conversation: Avery Bradley.

I'm not saying that Bradley is the difference in every game, but he's the difference between going 41-41 and 52-30.

Rajon Rondo had similar feelings when questioned by Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Rondo believes that the difference could be staggering:

We’re going to be a completely different team, just with one player coming back. I think (Bradley is) the X Factor. He’s going to be the key to why we win the championship. He brings a lot to the team in terms of intangibles, the way he cuts offensively. His pressure defensively is going to raise everyone else’s pressure. His defense is going to make us a lot better.

Will he make them a championship-caliber team? That remains to be seen. But he is a great young player that significantly helps Boston's defense.

Should Doc Rivers be fired?

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Doc hasn't been able to utilize Bradley's skill set thus far. It's hard to fully judge his performance as a coach when he hasn't had a completely healthy team this season.

Last season's 39-27 performance with a relatively healthy team (and Ray Allen) is proof of what Rivers is capable of getting out of his players when given a full squad. Don't forget, he also has a ring with this group.

It's far from time for Boston to clean house. Give Doc the opportunity to motivate a completely healthy team, and good things will happen. Luckily, Avery Bradley is expected to return on Wednesday.

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