Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo’s season-ending injury has made a few players step up, but none more so than coach Doc Rivers says retired NBA player Brian Scalabrine.
The Celtics are currently 14-4 without their star point-guard and the former Boston big man thinks that you have to go to the bench to see where the winning run lies.
“God’s honest truth, have they [Boston] been playing better basketball? Yes. Who has been the standout? I think Doc Rivers has been the standout,” Scalabrine said during an evening conference call.
“He has taken the team that has been dismantled by injuries and has been getting guys to play at or above their ability every single night when you get that effort from players such as Jeff Green, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Avery Bradley and even Courtney Lee. Doc’s even taken Terrance Williams from China and him having an impact on the game so I feel the star of the team has become Doc Rivers.
“I understand players are out there playing, they’re making shots and everything but what I see is the position that Doc puts these guys in; the position to not fail is really difficult as an NBA coach as you really have to think outside the box and he’s done a great job with this team. Anybody could lay-down and say ‘woe is me, I don’t have this and I don’t have that’ but that’s not Doc, he’s never been like that.”
The Celtics needed overtime to defeat the Atlanta Hawks last night as they continue their push for a spot in the NBA Playoffs, something that seemed distant when they heard the news that Rondo would be out for the season with an ACL tear. ESPN’s Doris Burke unexpectedly broke the news herself to Paul Pierce.
Despite the injury concerns, Scalabrine has a lot of confidence in the Celtics, come the Playoffs. And confidence comes naturally to him. One of the league’s most popular cult figures, Scalabrine, nicknamed the ‘White Mamba’ enjoyed an 11-year NBA career with the Celtics and the Chicago Bulls and despite playing alongside many well-known stars, the 34-year-old went on record to say he hasn’t played with anyone as good as Derrick Rose, who has just recently been cleared to practice after his torn ACL.
“He [Rose] will end up being better than all the other point guards when he does come back from his knee injury,” he said.
“Rose has the combination of the athletic ability, the determination, the will, the shooting, the scoring and his pick-and-roll play. His pick-and-roll play will continue to get better as the NBA is more of a pick-and-roll league. So I believe that even though that the season I saw Jason Kidd play was the best individual season I saw by an NBA player by helping his team, day in and day out, Derrick Rose will be the best basketball player out of all the players I’ve played with.”
Rose participated in a light warm-up session last night before the Bulls’ 89-88 win over Utah. Coach Tom Thibodeau has said he is cleared to do everything right now but a return is still up in the air.