Originally written on Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.  |  Last updated 8/9/13
I had a hard time deciding on a name for this piece (also considered The Right Stuff and Coaches on the Floor) but finally settled on this one because of the rare “UU”—can you think of another word with a double u?  How about a word with three double letters in a row?  O.K., I’ve already wandered adrift and I haven’t even gotten started.  Reset, reset. Yesterday I talked about playing the game the right way, The Celtics Way.  To do so players need to “see” beyond the opponent right in front of them, see the game developing, see what is about to happen.  Whether it is making a leading pass, looking off a defender, filling the lane on the fast break, helping on defense or helping for the helper, anticipating the pass or second pass, skipping down the options to the helper of the helper of the helper’s man, making the move requires seeing the game and its flux in its entirety.  Other wise the pass, help, or feint is a fraction of a second short and ineffectual.  Some players have been uncanny, almost prescient, in this regard; and not coincidentally, I think, a disproportionate number of them have been Celtics.  Cousey, Magic, Bird, Bill Bradley, Stockton, Rondo, Nash, Russell, Garnett, Duncan—these players all rose above their peers; making passes suggesting eyesight from their ears; jumping passing lanes as if they knew where the ball just had to go; turning open layups into charges; and nuancing defenders out of position with a glance, shoulder turn, or slight change of direction—often without the ball.  It is no accident that a Celtics-type player has a more cerebral approach to the game, or that many fine athletes just never seem to get it during their stay (often short) in Boston. To me it is not surprising that two of the promising young players are coach’s sons.  Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk have already demonstrated that “sense of where you are” (and where everybody else is, and where they are going).  My list above is point-guard heavy, and this makes perfect sense since they are the court generals—moving the troops into position and pulling the trigger on initiating the play.  The fact that Olynyk “outgrew” the position of point guard, I believe, augers well for both his career and for greasing the Celtics’ machine.  Just as Garnett engendered a new and higher level of ball movement and help defense, I think these young guns combine with Rondo over the next few years to create an atmosphere where not moving the ball quickly and calculatedly will be a (scarcely tolerable) exception. Of the returning players, none but Rondo seem to have that heightened awareness of the game.  I would lump them into two categories—“get it” and “enough trouble just doing my thing.”  Melo, Bass, and (in my opinion and in spite of his “good passing”) Crawford fall in the second group.  Lee, Bradley, and I think, Green are willing participants but not fully cognizant of the big picture. The Celtics mystique and The Celtics Way are alive and well.  The new coach’s teams at Butler showed a lot of team basketball.  Brad Stephens’ “process oriented” approach meshes well with building a right-way implementation.  This next incarnation of the  Parquet Green has the foundations to get off to a quick start.  I think basketball purists and long-time Boston fans are in for a treat.[Discuss on CG Forums!]
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