Doc Rivers Shoulders Blame For Ray Allen’s Departure?

We have all been through the Ray Allen “Decision” debate, where reasons varied from differences with Rajon Rondo, to the Celtics management’s lack of appreciation, to an active dislike about the bench role were tossed about – all of which probably played a part.

In a recent interview with Doc Rivers, Yahoo! Sports correspondent Adrian Wojnarowski reveals interesting nuggets from the Boston Celtics coach, most especially on the Ray “Decision”, with Doc actually blaming himself for the exit.

He began with his decision for Rondo to take the reins of the team:

“People can use all the Rondo stuff – and it was there, no doubt about that – but it was me more than Rondo,” said Rivers, who is working as an NBC analyst during the Olympics. “I’m the guy who gave Rondo the ball. I’m the guy who decided that Rondo needed to be more of the leader of the team. That doesn’t mean guys liked that – and Ray did not love that – because Rondo now had the ball all the time.”

Despite Ray’s clutch performances in past years, he has definitely been on the decline with every season. He had a world-class one-on-one against Sasha Vujacic in the championship 2008 Finals:

That ball handle unfortunately, has all but vanished. No longer able to break down opponents off the dribble, he evolved into a specialist running off screens and pulling up for shots in transition with deadly accuracy, showcased by his eight three pointer performance in the 2010 Finals:

Doc’s reasoning is perfectly logical; you would definitely want your All-Star passing point guard to have the ball and to decide the course of attack, as opposed to giving the ball over to an aging shooting guard with limited ball-handling abilities.

On the other hand, it was difficult for Ray to give in to reality. He was no longer in his prime, not able to do everything. By refusing to surrender to the team’s best option, he was adding his own pride to the discussion; an adamant refusal to surrender to his declining abilities or accept a smaller team role along with the fact.

It should be noted that Doc emphasized the need for a coach to make decisions for the team over the player. This is part of what makes Doc a great coach – he is a player’s coach and bonds with them really well, but does not hesitate to do the right thing, even if it means upsetting someone on the team.

“As a coach, you’ve got to do what’s best for the team. If guys don’t like it, they’re going to leave. If they stay and don’t like it, well, your team’s going to suck anyway. Even if this happens, you still have to do it. You can’t coach worrying about any individual. You’ve got to coach worrying about your entire team: whether that gets you a championship or whether that gets you fired.

I think it allows you to coach free. You’re coaching with freedom because you know you’re doing what you think is right.”

The entire interview is well worth a read, but one great take from this interview would be the way Doc Rivers emphasized the team over Ray Allen, something not every coach is willing to do in this era of NBA super-stardom.

For that alone, a tip of the hat goes to Doc Rivers, Boston Celtics coach.

What do you think of Ray’s “Decision”? Do you agree with Doc’s point of view? Was Ray not enough of a team player by not staying on? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


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