Improved depth not a bad problem for Doc Rivers to have

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Via the MetroWest Daily News:
Doc Rivers has a bigger variety of weapons this season than at any time during his six years in Boston.

With those weapons come options. With those options come choices. With those choices comes second-guessing when those choices don't work out.

For the first time in three years, Rivers and the Celtics experienced some of that during a bumpy stretch last month. The team struggled defensively, appeared uninspired at times and seemed to be missing something. When things didn't go well, Rivers looked at his bench and knew he could change things on the court. But changing them and fixing them doesn't necessarily go hand in hand.
And later in the article:
With more quality players with more distinct skills than ever, it gives Rivers more chances to roll the dice. Despite the three-week hiccup in mid-November, he has already rolled sevens much more often than he's come up snake-eyes.

"You definitely have more flexibility to do things," Rivers said. "It's good. I don't see any negative in that."
It's nice that Doc has so many options to choose from, it really is.  But I would love to see Doc experiment more often with new lineups.  Maybe trying Marquis Daniels at the one with a backcourt of Daniels, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce?  Maybe an all-shooter lineup of Eddie, Ray, Paul, KG and 'Sheed?

Too often -- in my eyes, at least -- Rivers sticks with the starting lineup and the second unit, playing the two units almost exclusively alone, rather than mixing and matching players to get the best matchups possible.  With so many weapons at his disposal this year, Rivers could be finding mismatches every night.  Imagine a team like Toronto trying to defend a big guard lineup of Daniels, Ray, and Pierce:  There is no way Jose Calderon or Jarrett Jack can guard any of those guys in the post; can't even come close.  Meanwhile, Daniels moves his feet well enough to defend most point guards in the league.  That lineup could create so many mismatches for the Celtics, yet Doc has only used it one time this season (according to the article).

Why isn't Doc using all his weapons?  He blames it on a lack of practice time for the creative lineups, and a lack of cohesiveness in those lineups due to the lack of practice time.

Well, uh, Doc, I've got a little news for you:  You're the one who chooses what lineups practice together!  Mix and match at practice, so you can get a little creative during the games.  Utilize everybody the C's have.  Get a little funky.

Because, if you're asking me, you aren't properly utilizing the C's versatility or its depth.


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