|Posted by shawn cassidy on December 11, 2013 at 5:15 AM|
Doc is finally coming back to Boston, with love from his former players, and with love from some fans. My feelings on Doc haven't changed in some ways. I lost a lot of respect for him, and I wasn't thrilled with his coaching, when it came to playing certain players, and when it came to his love for the "Big 3", and how it hurt the overall team at times because of it. That's all over and done. The Celtics now have a new coach that is the future of the franchise, and the model for other franchises when it comes to who they pick to run their teams.
Sullinger didn't hide how much Rivers meant to his own development.
"I can’t be a rookie -- that’s one thing he kept telling me [last season]," Sullinger said of Rivers' coaching in his first NBA season. "That if you want to play, you can’t be a rookie. He always pushed me. I was the hardest he coached throughout the team [last season], and every little thing I did, I couldn’t get away with. He was always on me. Almost like playing for my father [Satch] all over again."
Across the locker room, Jeff Green likewise gushed about Rivers' impact on him.
"What he’s done for me, individually, he made me look in the mirror and try to figure out what type of player I want to be," Green said. "He gave me a chance to really showcase what I can do. And he gave me an opportunity that I needed to present myself out there to people, to come with the aggression each night. I’ve known Doc since I’ve been a sophomore in college. ... He’s done a lot for me, he’s done a lot for this organization as well.
"It’s going to be fun to see him again, but when the ball is thrown up in the air, he’s on the other team, he’s the enemy. And we’re going to try to beat his team."
First-year Celtics coach Brad Stevens, the man tasked with navigating the rebuild that Rivers had no desire to endure, was asked if he wanted to beat his predecessor in their first head-to-head meeting.
"No, I want [the Celtics] to play good basketball," Stevens said. "I don’t know Doc very well. I’ve met him maybe once, at the coaches’ meetings in September and I’ve talked to him on the phone maybe twice in my life. I have a lot of respect for him, a lot of respect for what he accomplished here, what he’s doing there, and the coach he is. And his staff. But there’s nothing extra for me. It’s not about me."
Even Rajon Rondo suggested he'll be emotionally detached from seeing his first NBA coach.
"I’m not an emotional guy, so I won’t tear up or anything," Rondo said.
I'm with you Rondo. I don't feel all warm inside when it comes to what Doc did in Boston. I felt like he quit on the franchise, and even though the Celtics are in a better place because of it. I still feel betrayed by Doc. Maybe if he just walked away from the NBA, then I would be okay with it. I don't know, I really don't care about Doc leaving, but I still dislke him. Perhaps in a year or two, I'll forget about it, and I'll let go.