The morning after another 50 loss Knicks campaign came to a close, Mike D’Antoni might be forgiven for cracking a smile. After the competing Herald suggested Wednesday that Celtics coach Doc Rivers (above) was leaning towards bailing on the final year of his Boston contract, the Globe’s Marc J. Spears Gary Washburn hints that one of D’Antoni’s biggest headaches also managed to drive Rivers to distraction.
Danny Ainge added some pieces to a team that appeared primed for one final title run, but none have worked. Rasheed Wallace has been inconsistent. Marquis Daniels has showed he can™t produce in the spotlight and is best suited for a smaller market and less pressure. And Nate Robinson has been tentative, and privately the organization has questioned his maturity.
The Celtics™ locker room is fractured. There are the old schoolers (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Michael Finley), the Sheed crew (Wallace, Robinson, and Daniels), and the future stars (Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins), while the rest bounce from group to group.
There comes a time when teams tune out their coach, regardless of his credentials or player-friendly style. Neither Rivers nor Ainge are concerned that it has reached that point, but Rivers hasn™t been this frustrated with a team since taking over six years ago. His losing teams were young and expected to struggle, but never has he coached a squad with so much talent and so many issues.
Wallace needed to emerge as a leader, play strong defense, plant himself in the post, and take pressure off Garnett. Daniels needed to play defense with passion and spell Rondo. And Robinson needed to show a refinement not seen from him consistently in New York.