The Celtics are shaking things up once again, but this time it’s a change on the coaching staff.
Earlier in the summer Tom Thibodeau was named the head coach for the Chicago Bulls. Coach Thibodeau is known for his defensive genius and was a staple on the Celtics bench for the past two seasons.
Now the Celtics are losing Clifford Ray, a coach who is known for his expertise with big men.
He was with Doc Rivers in Orlando and made the move up to Boston once Doc became the head coach for the Celtics. CRay’s first coaching opportunity came in Dallas with the Mavericks and during his stint there, the Mavs lead the league in rebounding.
With the Celtics, Ray was in charge of teaching the big men all aspects of the NBA game. He helped develop Al Jefferson into a solid low-post threat. He’s transformed Kendrick Perkins from a player who struggled to stay on the court into one of the best defensive big men in the league. Glen “Big Baby” Davis attributes his toughness to Ray and Shaq even calls him “Uncle Cliffy.”
Even Dwight Howard credits Ray for his work ethic. When the Celtics made their title run in 2008, it was Ray who ultimately convinced P.J. Brown to come out of retirement and join the Celtics.
Apparently the Celtics management made the decision that Ray’s services are no longer necessary for the upcoming season.
That seems very puzzling since the Celtics two biggest offseason acquisitions were Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal. The team will be missing Kendrick Perkins for at least the first half of the season and their 2008 second-round pick Semi Erden (7’1’’ Center) will be joining the team. Davis still has a lot learn and still has potential.
It seems that Ray’s role on the team would have been more vital this up-coming compared past seasons.