Understanding who Doc is.....

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Understanding who Doc is.....

    Doc is a "Player's Coach". Player's coaches usually have played the game at the highest levels themselves, understand the way their players think, and do everything they can to make sure the most important players are happy and is good at making those who aren't as important believe they will earn their turn, in his time. The Player's coach will load much of the responsibility of player discipline, team personality, and overall playing style on his those ALPHA personality, most important guys in the locker room. When you have 3-HOFers and an uber talented soon to be perennial All-Star rookie PG who still plays within himself, this all works well (2008).

     

    Doc is a good player's coach, but who wouldn't be having 3-HOFers with strong leadership ability helping him run the team. Sounds like a pretty easy job for anyone with a reasonable amount of knowledge about the game as a former respected player, unless you end up spoiling one of your most important players, as he has done with Rondo. With all of the injuries, he now has to let the other guys play and show what they can really do when they get to TOUCH THE BALL and not just come in to watch their spoiled PG control everything all the time. In order to be successful now, Doc too must change. He must become a better in game coach, with a much stronger approach to handling his youger knuckleheaded players. I get that Doc is a great play caller coming out of time outs. But, if he can't show the ability to evolve into a better in game tactician, a more adept talent evaluator, and that he is better at finding the right mix/chemistry, then I agree we need a change. We've gone too long seeing the wrong guys doing the wrong things on this team while too many with great "potential" sit and waste away because he wanted to make the Alphas happy. I'm kinda tired of the Player's Coaching style and woud prefer to see more of a Coaches Coach take a shot if Doc can't adjust.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from snakeoil123. Show snakeoil123's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     

     


    Thats perfect...Francona. I agree that they will all be here as long as the others are. I can't fault him for the style he has, as it has worked. But, its time for him to adjust now. I don't think it a coincidence that we see incredible success when Doc is forced to do what he has refused to do before by giving the young guys a real shot. Frustrating for everybody.

     

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from wfdog. Show wfdog's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    Yeah, like Tito I think Doc is good at managing personalities and keeping players focussed over a long season. I also think he's good at drawing up plays but I question his ability to evaluate talent and change tacts if something isn't working during the season because he usually prefers to ride things out and rely on vets to come around instead.

    Like you said, most of his successful in season decision changes have come as a result of injuries to people he relied on. As Heinsohn said early in the season, the C's should've been running more from the start with all the depth and speed they had going into 2012-13.

    I also think Doc was more effective before he made Rondo the coach on the floor and gave him a lot of control. The year they won it all Doc had the luxury of KG basically coaching the first team and Posey coaching the bench, so I think Doc should take back more control moving forward until he can get another true leader out there who is more stable than Rondo.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to wfdog's comment:

     

    Yeah, like Tito I think Doc is good at managing personalities and keeping players focussed over a long season. I also think he's good at drawing up plays but I question his ability to evaluate talent and change tacts if something isn't working during the season because he usually prefers to ride things out and rely on vets to come around instead.

    Like you said, most of his successful in season decision changes have come as a result of injuries to people he relied on. As Heinsohn said early in the season, the C's should've been running more from the start with all the depth and speed they had going into 2012-13.

    I also think Doc was more effective before he made Rondo the coach on the floor and gave him a lot of control. The year they won it all Doc had the luxury of KG basically coaching the first team and Posey coaching the bench, so I think Doc should take back more control moving forward until he can get another true leader out there who is more stable than Rondo.

     

    Agreed on all points. I, for one, don't believe that Rondo ever should have had to bare such a burden, even if he himself wanted it. Just this year alone, Rondo has been suspended for 3-games for agregisous acts on the court. He can't even lead himself, yet. When Doc calls you a "leader" it appears he expects you to take on much more than just doing your job well. He appears to be asking that you do part of his job too, and not to just set the example by the way you conduct yourself both oon and off the floor. Coaches should coach the players up, and players should play. There is no doubt that Doc has exchanged his undying loyalty to his players for their willingness to try and take on part of his, the coaches job. 

     

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Karllost. Show Karllost's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In my view, Doc hasnt shown me hes a good coach.. other than riding the coattails of HOF's on and off the court.

    Only through injury do we notice the blossoming of benched players... as desperate as we are for big's, how many has Doc alientated the past few years>>??.. What out-of-bounds-plays is DOc so brilliant at?? Sure I remember several years ago we had some good ones that worked... then again, I also remember players nixxing Docs play for one they thought better, then chuckled post game about it.

    I see ROndo become a full fledged diva and annointed leader under Doc... resulting in hindered development of many players... while Doc wipes his nose and coddles him.

    I listen during time outs, just about everyone DOc plays the cheerleader.. wheres the strategy?? We need a stop and a rebound.... gee, thanks Doc

    Everyone has their own opinion and entitled to it.. I could go on for 5 more pgh's .. but you get where im coming from

     

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from proftom2. Show proftom2's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    What I like about Doc is he unerstands Celtic basketball. I honestly think he repsects the Celtics history and brand. He's a keepers of the Boston Celtic tradition. He's seems to understand that he is one of the few people in history who have won not just an NBA championship, But a Boston Celtics NBA Championship. 

    His knowledge of the X's and O's part of coaching is obvious and his skill at managing highly paid ego's amazing.   

     
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  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to Karllost's comment:

     

    In my view, Doc hasnt shown me hes a good coach.. other than riding the coattails of HOF's on and off the court.

    Only through injury do we notice the blossoming of benched players... as desperate as we are for big's, how many has Doc alientated the past few years>>??.. What out-of-bounds-plays is DOc so brilliant at?? Sure I remember several years ago we had some good ones that worked... then again, I also remember players nixxing Docs play for one they thought better, then chuckled post game about it.

    I see ROndo become a full fledged diva and annointed leader under Doc... resulting in hindered development of many players... while Doc wipes his nose and coddles him.

    I listen during time outs, just about everyone DOc plays the cheerleader.. wheres the strategy?? We need a stop and a rebound.... gee, thanks Doc

    Everyone has their own opinion and entitled to it.. I could go on for 5 more pgh's .. but you get where im coming from

     

     


    You won't get any arguments here. Doc does have a great knowledge of the tactical side of the game and proves it when his guys execute those plays out of time outs. Karl, We never hear the actual strategy because of the obvious....the TV cameras are told to get lost during the explanations and strategy of such. Otherwise, I do agree that he has not proven to be other than a good motivator to HOFers. I don't even thing thats true as HOFers motiviate one another simply be being on the court with oneanother. They are certainly fans of eachother. So, my sense is that Doc either shows more COACH and less Buddy to his guys. He has a great chance to change the perception if they can really do something now. Lets see if he has it. GREAT coaches make lemonade outta lemons........

     

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from snakeoil123. Show snakeoil123's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    I still don't get who thinks Doc is a great coach.

    I thought people thought of him as a good motivator and a guy who was average on x's and o's.

    I don't hear many pundits saying "great coach".

    I mean who is a "great coach"? in the NBA today?

    I think you hope for good and you settle for average.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to Kirk6's comment:

    Doc sks.

    He let Rondo goof off and ruin the team for half the season.

    And then he complains about Wilcox who plays hard everytime out.

    I think Doc has an issue with bigs. 


    DOC has an issue with anybody he doesn't trust. Unfortunately, he doesn't give these guy a chance to prove themselves and judges them on 4-7 minutes a game. Wilcox is one of the most athletically gifted BIGs in the league with his hops, hands, passing ability, and touch. Yes, he's raw for lack of time, but he's much more versatile than Collins ever was. I think we will be raving about Chris during the next few weeks. Its been a long time comin and I only blame Doc ffor it taking so long......

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from prakash. Show prakash's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     



    Snake, wouldn't he get credit for helping Jeff Green along as well?

    Doc is what you say, a Francona type guy.  But he also knows how to maximize what he has got.  We may knock him for small ball, but small ball puts the best Celtics players on the court.

    My only complaint is that he does not provide enough opportunity for the young ones to develop.  He is not ready to sacrifice a game or two towards that.  Still, he has maximized the talent that he has.

    Rondo developed under his watch.  Jeff Green has been pushed to come out of his shell.  AB found a niche to get rooted in NBA.  Sullinger was coming along nicely.  And there has not been one player that he missed developing (one that became better after leaving Boston).

    As for players leaving Boston, the Allen brothers, that has a good bit to do with Danny and the situation as well.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

    I still don't get who thinks Doc is a great coach.

    I thought people thought of him as a good motivator and a guy who was average on x's and o's.

    I don't hear many pundits saying "great coach".

    I mean who is a "great coach"? in the NBA today?

    I think you hope for good and you settle for average.


    Great coaches don't really exist anymore. Closest thing out there is probably Popovich because he knows how to handle his players and the X/O side of the game. 

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from snakeoil123. Show snakeoil123's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to prakash's comment:

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     

     



    Snake, wouldn't he get credit for helping Jeff Green along as well?

     

    Doc is what you say, a Francona type guy.  But he also knows how to maximize what he has got.  We may knock him for small ball, but small ball puts the best Celtics players on the court.

    My only complaint is that he does not provide enough opportunity for the young ones to develop.  He is not ready to sacrifice a game or two towards that.  Still, he has maximized the talent that he has.

    Rondo developed under his watch.  Jeff Green has been pushed to come out of his shell.  AB found a niche to get rooted in NBA.  Sullinger was coming along nicely.  And there has not been one player that he missed developing (one that became better after leaving Boston).

    As for players leaving Boston, the Allen brothers, that has a good bit to do with Danny and the situation as well.



    I think guys like playing for Doc for the most part. I would assume that Green would as well.

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Karllost. Show Karllost's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

    In response to prakash's comment:

     

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     

     



    Snake, wouldn't he get credit for helping Jeff Green along as well?

     

    Doc is what you say, a Francona type guy.  But he also knows how to maximize what he has got.  We may knock him for small ball, but small ball puts the best Celtics players on the court.

    My only complaint is that he does not provide enough opportunity for the young ones to develop.  He is not ready to sacrifice a game or two towards that.  Still, he has maximized the talent that he has.

    Rondo developed under his watch.  Jeff Green has been pushed to come out of his shell.  AB found a niche to get rooted in NBA.  Sullinger was coming along nicely.  And there has not been one player that he missed developing (one that became better after leaving Boston).

    As for players leaving Boston, the Allen brothers, that has a good bit to do with Danny and the situation as well.

     



    I think guys like playing for Doc for the most part. I would assume that Green would as well.

     



    not so sure thats true once you get past the starting rotation...at least until recently

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to prakash's comment:

     

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     

     



    Snake, wouldn't he get credit for helping Jeff Green along as well?

     

    Doc is what you say, a Francona type guy.  But he also knows how to maximize what he has got.  We may knock him for small ball, but small ball puts the best Celtics players on the court.

    My only complaint is that he does not provide enough opportunity for the young ones to develop.  He is not ready to sacrifice a game or two towards that.  Still, he has maximized the talent that he has.

    Rondo developed under his watch.  Jeff Green has been pushed to come out of his shell.  AB found a niche to get rooted in NBA.  Sullinger was coming along nicely.  And there has not been one player that he missed developing (one that became better after leaving Boston).

    As for players leaving Boston, the Allen brothers, that has a good bit to do with Danny and the situation as well.

     



    Prak, to optimize what you got would be to get it the moment you see it and keep going to it. JG is the prime example of someone who was hampered by RR being on the court, and Doc not realizing it. BAsketball is a game of feel. If you don't touch the ball, you don't feel it. With RR out, the guys are all getting touches and their confidence is grwoing. That shows a fundamental flw in Docs approach and understanding of his players.

     

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    In response to prakash's comment:

     

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     

     



    Snake, wouldn't he get credit for helping Jeff Green along as well?

     

    Doc is what you say, a Francona type guy.  But he also knows how to maximize what he has got.  We may knock him for small ball, but small ball puts the best Celtics players on the court.

    My only complaint is that he does not provide enough opportunity for the young ones to develop.  He is not ready to sacrifice a game or two towards that.  Still, he has maximized the talent that he has.

    Rondo developed under his watch.  Jeff Green has been pushed to come out of his shell.  AB found a niche to get rooted in NBA.  Sullinger was coming along nicely.  And there has not been one player that he missed developing (one that became better after leaving Boston).

    As for players leaving Boston, the Allen brothers, that has a good bit to do with Danny and the situation as well.

     



    I think guys like playing for Doc for the most part. I would assume that Green would as well.

     

     


    I believe they say they do, but until now, I'd say many were only toeing the company line as they wouldn't dare challenge him. Everybody's eyes are opening with the latest turn of events and style.

     

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from snakeoil123. Show snakeoil123's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to Karllost's comment:

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    In response to prakash's comment:

     

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:

     

    He's a Francona type. He is loyal to the guys that got him there before and those guys love him.

    He isn't much of an in game strat kind of guy.

    He will be here as long as KG, Pierce and Rondo are. Those guys would run through walls for him. 

     

     



    Snake, wouldn't he get credit for helping Jeff Green along as well?

     

    Doc is what you say, a Francona type guy.  But he also knows how to maximize what he has got.  We may knock him for small ball, but small ball puts the best Celtics players on the court.

    My only complaint is that he does not provide enough opportunity for the young ones to develop.  He is not ready to sacrifice a game or two towards that.  Still, he has maximized the talent that he has.

    Rondo developed under his watch.  Jeff Green has been pushed to come out of his shell.  AB found a niche to get rooted in NBA.  Sullinger was coming along nicely.  And there has not been one player that he missed developing (one that became better after leaving Boston).

    As for players leaving Boston, the Allen brothers, that has a good bit to do with Danny and the situation as well.

     



    I think guys like playing for Doc for the most part. I would assume that Green would as well.

     

     



    not so sure thats true once you get past the starting rotation...at least until recently

     



    You might be right. I really don't know.  The impression I get is that he is a players coach that gets by on his charm and saying the right thing as opposed to his actual ability to manage games and playing time.

    Thats why I compared him to Francona.  Same basic skill set.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from hedleylamarr. Show hedleylamarr's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    As a coach myself, getting your players to believe in your system is 80% of the battle.  To get the team to play the kind of D we play takes a great deal of skill.

     

    And, for the record, on those rare occassions when I get to watch the games on TV, why do I ALWAYS hear Hubie or Van Gundy say, "Doc Rivers is one of the best in the game after a timeout....?"

     

    I think Popovich is the best, but I think we have the second best active coach right here in Boston!

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to hedleylamarr's comment:

    As a coach myself, getting your players to believe in your system is 80% of the battle.  To get the team to play the kind of D we play takes a great deal of skill.

     

    And, for the record, on those rare occassions when I get to watch the games on TV, why do I ALWAYS hear Hubie or Van Gundy say, "Doc Rivers is one of the best in the game after a timeout....?"

     

    I think Popovich is the best, but I think we have the second best active coach right here in Boston!



    +1, Pop would be nice to have. Doc draws up good stuff in TOs, but we need more than that for the money....

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from prakash. Show prakash's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    What is a great coach?  Somebody who will win with third stringers?  Sorry!  Nobody has done that.

    Winning requires all the elements: great players and great coaching.  Phil Jackson took the Bulls to the title when Doug Collins was messing around in Chicago.  Great players got combined with great coaching.  Then Jackson repeated his performance while the Lakers players were great.  Even he could not overcome the decline in players.

    Popovich was very lucky that his career aligned with Duncan's career.  And the Spurs drafted well and developed some main stay players.  Ginobli, Parker and Duncan have been in San Antonio for a very long time.

    Once provided with quality players, Doc has won consistently.  As the quality declined, the winning declined.  Along the way players were developed as well.  And he is well liked and has great player relationships accross the Association.

    I think very highly of Doc.  Yes, there are those here that know better than him.  I wish they would send their resume to Danny for consideration.  In the mean time, we are lucky to have Doc.  He has done an admirable job of his part in winning.

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to prakash's comment:

     

    What is a great coach?  Somebody who will win with third stringers?  Sorry!  Nobody has done that.

    Winning requires all the elements: great players and great coaching.  Phil Jackson took the Bulls to the title when Doug Collins was messing around in Chicago.  Great players got combined with great coaching.  Then Jackson repeated his performance while the Lakers players were great.  Even he could not overcome the decline in players.

    Popovich was very lucky that his career aligned with Duncan's career.  And the Spurs drafted well and developed some main stay players.  Ginobli, Parker and Duncan have been in San Antonio for a very long time.

    Once provided with quality players, Doc has won consistently.  As the quality declined, the winning declined.  Along the way players were developed as well.  And he is well liked and has great player relationships accross the Association.

    I think very highly of Doc.  Yes, there are those here that know better than him.  I wish they would send their resume to Danny for consideration.  In the mean time, we are lucky to have Doc.  He has done an admirable job of his part in winning.

     


    Doc's done less than a "good job" for having 3-HOFers and a perennial All-Star PG for 4 of a  starting 5. Truly, there have been other coaches who have done more with less. But today, you are probably right, I don't see many options and we could certainly do worse.

     

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from basketbert. Show basketbert's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    if you listen to the talking heads, everybody is great and awesome and the best. ever hear any of them criticise somebody? it's just not done in public.

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from prakash. Show prakash's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    In response to RallyC's comment:

    Prak, to optimize what you got would be to get it the moment you see it and keep going to it. JG is the prime example of someone who was hampered by RR being on the court, and Doc not realizing it. BAsketball is a game of feel. If you don't touch the ball, you don't feel it. With RR out, the guys are all getting touches and their confidence is grwoing. That shows a fundamental flw in Docs approach and understanding of his players.



    I disagree.  Jeff Green needed to be backed into a corner.  Jeff had (and hopefully does not contine to have) a propensity to defer.  Everybody has been in his ear to be aggressive.  To believe and not defer to others.  With Rondo's loss, he had one less person to defer to.  He had no choice.  And to everybody's delight, he is starting to find himself.

    This has nothing to do with Rondo. In OKC, all of Westbrook, Durant and Harden took initiative and took control.  Green kept on defering his way to a trade.

    What we are seeing is that with a bigger sandbox, some players can make a dramatic improvement.  Doc does not experiment too much with the sandbox and he should.  The player that he should be experimenting with is Melo.  I understand that Melo has a way to go.  But Doc has to start working him into some minutes.  Otherwise, Melo's lack of development will become a self fulfilling prophecy.

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from BCSP. Show BCSP's posts

    Re: Understanding who Doc is.....

    A good coach also puts together a good coaching staff. In 2008, Thibs did an awesome job on the defensive side of the ball. During that season, Thibs worked as hard as any player on the floor during games! I loved watching him work the sideline, calling out picks, screaming rotate!!!! He was the most active enthusiastic assistant coach I had ever seen.

    A glimpse at his scheme:

    Chicago Bulls: What Makes Tom Thibodeau's Defense the Best in the NBA?   Hi-res-143432921_crop_exact   Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It's no coincidence that the Chicago Bulls have been the best defensive team in the NBA since they hired Tom Thibodeau to replace Vinny Del Negro as the head coach in 2010. Thibodeau has long been one of the foremost masterminds among the league's sideline ranks, having fashioned top-10 defenses on 13 occasions in 18 seasons as an assistant or head coach.

    But what is it that makes Thibs' defenses tick?

    In short, it's part scheme and part scream.

    Strategically speaking, Thibs' teams tend to go to great lengths (extreme ones, in some cases) to keep the opposition out of the middle of the floor, where the highest-percentage shots can be found. The surest way to secure victory, then, is to limit these shots, particularly in the paint, and force teams to take difficult ones instead. Also, it's much easier to defend a player if one leaves him only one direction in which to move.

    This applies to nearly everything the Bulls do defensively. Here, for instance, we see Kyle Korver (now of the Atlanta Hawks) stepping up to his man:

    Bullsnets1_crop_exact

     

     

    Korver quickly exaggerates his stance to the left so as to take away the middle and force his man toward the baseline, where Joakim Noah (in the box) is ready to provide help:

    Bullsnets2_crop_exact

     

     

    Footwork is key to the success of this strategy. It's incumbent upon Korver to stand in such a way as to cut off one side completely and give the opposition one clear, seemingly unimpeded direction in which to move.

    These principles come into play again later in the same sequence. Stopped on the wing, Korver's man now tries to get the ball to Deron Williams, who has to come out beyond the three-point arc to meet the pass while Derrick Rose shields off the middle of the floor:

    Bullsnets3_crop_exact

     

     

    Williams receives the rock with his eyes on the prize (i.e. the basket) but finds the path to it impeded.

    Bullsnets5_crop_exact

     

     

    Rose has Williams funneled toward the left side of the floor, where Korver and Noah (once again) are positioned to help. Even Luol Deng, who's guarding his man on the opposite wing, is paying close attention to what's going on across the court, just in case D-Will should sneak around Chicago's traps.

    Williams gets close to the lane but is turned away by Noah and Kurt Thomas, the latter of whom is ready to chip in as the last line of defense if need be. Rose, meanwhile, forces D-Will back outside, positioning himself to make it difficult for Williams to get back into the middle.

    Bullsnets6_crop_exact

     

     

    D-Will decides to probe once again, though he has to do so from just outside the paint. Noah and Thomas are still there to stonewall Williams if need be:

    Bullsnets7_crop_exact

     

     

    Williams is able to get closer to the cup, with even a foot in the lane:

    Bullsnets8_crop_exact

     

     

    But Rose and Noah are both there to contest, forcing D-Will to make a tough behind-the-back pass out to Kris Humphries for a lower-percentage shot near the top of the key.

    The Bulls put similar concepts into practice when guarding the pick-and-roll. Not to pick on the Nets or anything, but here, we see them setting up for the two-man game, with Brook Lopez passing the ball off to become a screener. Deng and Omer Asik (now of the Houston Rockets) are both prepared to make life difficult for their opponents:

    Bullsnetspnr1_crop_exact

     

     

    Deng immediately swarms his man, forcing the action toward the baseline. At the same time, Asik slides to his left to cut off the ball-handler on the other side:

    Bullsnetspnr2_crop_exact

     

     

    Lopez rolls toward the middle while Deng and Asik converge on the man with the ball:

    Bullsnetspnr3_crop_exact

     

     

    But because the ball is trapped, Lopez comes back to make himself available as an outlet:

    Bullsnetspnr4_crop_exact

     

     

    That essentially thwarts the pick-and-roll, as Lopez has not only to abandon his roll, but also to do so in a way that ultimately makes it easier for Asik to get back to him defensively.

    Deng is still situated so as to keep the ball from winding up back in the middle. His long arms serve to disrupt the pass out, and the way in which Asik has forced Lopez to set up with his back to the basket doesn't make the connection any easier:

    Bullsnetspnr5_crop_exact

     

     

    All of which leads to a bad pass and an easy steal for Rose.

    Beyond X's and O's, Thibs' defense is fueled by intelligence, toughness and a willingness to hustle. To keep the ball out of the post (and thus out of the middle again), the Bulls either push their men off the block from behind or prevent entry altogether by fronting passes. Quickness and physical strength are certainly helpful in this endeavor, but they are of little use unless the player in question puts some effort behind it. 

    Also, the Bulls don't just clog the middle and allow the opposition to jack up wide-open shots; rather, they fly out to the perimeter to contest. Again, getting players to hustle is key to the success of such a strategy.

    Thibodeau implores all of his guys to recover to shooters on the perimeter and even use their voices as distractions if need be, as seen in this drill from his days as an assistant with the Boston Celtics:

     

     

    Screaming isn't quite so important for cleaning up all the misses forced by Thibs' defense, though smarts and hustle remain crucial to the operation. Just as Thibodeau coaches his players to track down their men when contesting shots, so too does he beseech them to put boxing out ahead of pursuing the ball when the shots go up.

    To be sure, none of what Thibodeau preaches is new or revolutionary. Forcing the ball baseline, trapping the pick-and-roll, contesting shots, denying the post and putting oneself between ball and man when rebounding are all basic principles of defensive basketball, even (or, perhaps, especially) in this day and age of schemes that almost rival those of the NFL in their complexity.

    What holds it all together, what drives the whole operation, is Thibodeau's relentless passion and intensity along with his ability to evoke those intangible qualities from his players within the team concept. He's been known to blow a gasket from time to time, be it in practice or during actual games, to get points across to his players. Thibs has also been known to dip into his defensive stance on occasion, even if doing so on the court in a game isn't exactly within the rules:

     

     

    Nonetheless, the strength of Tom Thibodeau's teams ultimately derives from his knack for getting his guys to leave it all out on the floor every single night. That's how the Bulls managed to snag the top seed in the East last season, despite missing Derrick Rose, the reigning MVP, for 27 games.

    And that's how they'll keep their heads above water while Rose continues his recovery from a torn ACL, even if Thibs has to strain his voice until kingdom come to encourage them to do so. 

     

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