After weeks of rumbling, it was announced over the weekend that Doc Rivers will be leaving Boston for the Clippers.
Before Doc had even left, there were rumblings about who would be his replacement. Most lists have Indiana Pacers coach Brian Shaw and departing Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins at, or near the top of the lists. A few even have departing Clip Show coach Vinny del Negro switching places with Rivers.
Most lists do not have former Nets and Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, and they should; especially since ESPN is reporting that Shaw will end up in Denver, thus taking him off the proverbial big board.
After playing 16 seasons, mostly with the San Antonio Spurs, Johnson quickly acquiesced into the role of head coach, taking the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals in 2006 (the year he won NBA Coach of the Year), then rattling off a 67-15 campaign the next season.
Johnson's career winning percentage? 58 percent. That's actually better than Doc Rivers' career winning percentage, and on par with his winning percentage with Boston. Compared with active coaches, Johnson's career win percentage and total wins (254) both put him in the top 10.
It seems apparent that if the Celtics are going to rebuild, they will have to develop Rajon Rondo, who will be returning this season after missing at least half a season with an ACL injury. As a former title-winning point guard, Johnson seems poised to give Rondo the guidance he needs.
Johnson runs a very point guard-centric offense that looks for, amongst other things, fast-break and lob opportunities. That kind of offense was made to be run by someone like Rondo.
Johnson also has a history of working well with great stretch fours, having played alongside Tim Duncan before coaching Dirk Nowitzki. He could wring the last few good games out of Garnett (who will be playing his 19th season in the fall), or develop Brandon Bass as the Celtics' next solid power forward.
Some would point out that Avery Johnson didn't mesh with one of the league's other top-tier point guards, Deron Williams. Then again, Deron Williams didn't mesh with John Stockton's coach, either.
Bottom line: Avery Johnson needs to be added to the Celtics' list of head coaching possibilities.
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