January 27, 2004

Jim O'Brien joins Byron Scott: on the unemployment line. Not surprisingly, it's the result of a major argument about "personnel and playing time issues" between him and Danny Ainge. You could pretty much see this coming; Ainge has been trading away O'Brien's favorite players (Walker and Williams and Battie) all season long, and O'Brien hasn't done a great job developing Ainge's draft picks.

You have to wonder if the defensive coaching genius, Dick Harter, will depart with O'Brien. He's a big part of whatever success the Celtics have had recently, and it'd hurt a lot to lose him. For that matter, who will the Celtics get to replace O'Brien? John Carroll gets it in the short run; is this Dennis Johnson's big chance to come back and coach for a teammate?

posted by Bryant to basketball at 04:00 PM - 17 comments

Unbelievable. This is a team that was close to going to the finals. Ainge has single handedly blown up the squad in a matter of months. O'Brien hasn't done a great job developing Ainge's draft picks. That would be because Danny's picks sucked. As for Dick Harter, I'd like to see him get a shot at running the squad but I'm afraid they'll bring in some retread. DJ is a stretch, and I'm not sure he'd want to get the job just cuz Danny boy is running things upstairs. Not to say that DJ isn't a good coach, I believe he is. But when he was thrown into the "interim fire" with the Clips, things didn't work out too good. I don't think coaching a fragile Celtics squad would improve his resume any. I hate to speculate on the position this way when John Carroll is the current custodian of the Celts sideline. Lest we forget, this is pretty much how O'Brien got his shot (cleaning up after Pitino). Such is the nature of the beast that is the Eastern Conference coaching carousel.

posted by lilnemo at 04:17 PM on January 27, 2004

Danny Ainge sucks.

posted by jerseygirl at 04:27 PM on January 27, 2004

Aw, tell us how you really feel... The biggest mistake was not Ainge's fault. Ainge wasn't even around when Gaston made Wallace let Rodney Rogers go. Which sucked. A lot. I think it's better that Ainge gets a fair clear shot. If he screws up, I don't want anyone saying "Aw, it was O'Brien's fault." Let him pick his coach; it does nobody any good if the GM and coach are at odds. Dick Harter would be a really good choice.

posted by Bryant at 04:35 PM on January 27, 2004

Who the fuck is going to motivate this team?

posted by yerfatma at 04:38 PM on January 27, 2004

Good grief, this is the seventh firing and eigth coaching change THIS SEASON. That's more than 25% of the teams. And yeah, Ainge better have something up his sleeve or he's going to be in deep shit. Couldn't happen to a better guy.

posted by Ufez Jones at 04:41 PM on January 27, 2004

Taking a deep breath and stepping back from it, I'm having problems imaging myself following this team without Jim O'Brien as coach. I sincerely doubt Dick Harter has any interest in being a head coach in the NBA (or he already would be). I suppose we'll get Lester Conner or whomever else from Obie's staff, but next year will undoubtedly give us a coach hand-picked by Danny via his brain-scan method.

posted by yerfatma at 04:53 PM on January 27, 2004

Rumor on WEEI is that Harter resigned as well. This is unconfirmed. The Globe says John Carroll will be the interim head coach.

posted by Bryant at 05:14 PM on January 27, 2004

On PTI (and I just confirmed), they said 14 of the 15 East Conference teams have changed coaches since the end of last season. Unbelieavable

posted by dales15 at 05:20 PM on January 27, 2004

That would be because Danny's picks sucked. Giving the Devil his due, Marcus Banks is fine and may turn into a solid point guard once he figures a few things out*. Any second-round NBA draft choice isn't worth discussing: if your second pick is a European player who's still tied to a team or a high schooler and they work out, it's a bonus. * For example, if you're trying to get the last shot in the quarter, wait until there are less than 10 seconds remaining, not 2.

posted by yerfatma at 05:33 PM on January 27, 2004

Dick Harter was let go this afternoon too. I'm not sure who they will find to take this job now that Ainge has showed us he will pay zero attention to what his coach wants in making personnel moves, even when that coach is the only one to take the franchise to the playoffs in nearly a decade. Jim O'Brien deserved more respect than he was shown.

posted by dimmykarras at 10:22 PM on January 27, 2004

I'm sure they'll have no problems with model citizen Ricky Davis now that Obie's left town. The only reason I thought the trade was ok was the idea O'Brien could harness Ricky's talents while keeping his Dark Side in check. Someone get me an over-under on number of attempted self rebounds the rest of the season.

posted by yerfatma at 07:02 AM on January 28, 2004

Is it safe to say being a coach in the NBA wouldn't be a wise career choice?

posted by jasonspaceman at 07:04 AM on January 28, 2004

Ainge is starting to sound like Al Davis. Does he wear black track suits whenever he's seen in public?

posted by billsaysthis at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2004

"What I think happened is that Danny Ainge figured out a solution, a way out of this morass of fronting defense. He decided to fire Dick Harter." Insight from HoopsWorld.com on the Ainge-O'Brien "philosophical differences."

posted by yerfatma at 02:56 PM on January 28, 2004

...Danny Ainge figured out a solution, a way out of this morass of fronting defense... That article hits some interesting points. Save one. The fronting defense. Fronting the post throughout the game is a scrambling defense employed when you have big men incapable of defending the post man to man. You usually employ fronting in combination with a pre-emptive full court press to force turnovers and long-shots. Long shots, as the adage goes, produce long rebounds. When the offenses biggest rebounding threat is under the basket waiting for the ball to drop, the ball usually ends up about 2-3 feet behind them and out of reach. This is why Paul Pierce, a 6-6 SG averages 7 rpg. Your guards have to take a bigger responsibility for boxing out their men, and in the process negating the chance for second chance shots in the paint. This also allows your best ball-handlers to immediately run the break from the bounce with their big men trailing, and (oddly enough) a step or two ahead of their defenders as a result of the fronting. If Ainge convinces the interim coach, and his next hire to force the Celtics bigs to defend man-to-man in the post you can bet on some bad squads blowing out the Celts on a regular basis. The playoffs may not be in the cards for a season or two.

posted by lilnemo at 03:30 PM on January 28, 2004

. . . force the Celtics bigs The who now? If Ainge trades Blount and Walta (as mentioned in the article), Chris Mihm is going to look like a pituitary case in the team photo until Raef LaFrentz returns next year. The playoffs may not be in the cards for a season or two. In the words of Dexter, "Ahh, you theenk?" Is Danny trying to bring back an All-White Celtics? They already ditched the black Converse.

posted by yerfatma at 04:09 PM on January 28, 2004

Anyone else pissed off at the annoying habit the players have of double teaming the ball after a pick? Why cant these guys hedge for each other, or even switch if they have to? I'm seeing way too many easy baskets off of pick-and-rolls. It's little things like these that the players just have to learn, and then maybe they can get the team back on its feet. Offense is great, Danny, but seeing the team win is better.

posted by tommy at 12:01 AM on February 22, 2004

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