Doc Rivers: Worst Coach to Ever Win an NBA Title

Sometimes, a great coach takes a team to the next level and leads them to a championship, bringing the talent together and leaving open questions of just how bad the last guy was that he couldn’t figure it out. Steve Kerr taking over for Mark Jackson and leading the Golden State Warriors to glory in 2015 comes to mind. So does Larry Brown working his magic on the Detroit Pistons to get them to two straight NBA Finals and that 2004 title over a Lakers team that was about to implode. Heck, if you’re old enough to remember it, Dick …

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The Incredible Longevity of John Havlicek

John Havlicek played for 16 NBA seasons, entering the league in 1962-63 in time to win six championships with Bill Russell, then adding two more titles in 1974 and 1976 as the sidekick to Dave Cowens for which he’s remembered by Celtics fans younger than about 60. He made his first All-Star team in his fourth pro season in 1966, then never missed another until he retired. What’s more, “Hondo” wasn’t coasting on reputation in the mid-to-late ’70s; he averaged 16.1 points per game and still managed 5.1 Win Shares in 1977-78, a year after he was still effective enough …

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The Greatest Draft Day Trade In NBA History

On April 30, 1956, an NBA draft day trade went down that would change the course of basketball history in a way that has rarely been matched since. Sure, there was the Greatest Fleecing in NBA History—when the Boston Celtics snookered the Golden State Warriors out of Robert Parish and Kevin McHale for Joe Barry Carroll in 1980, still the most one-sided draft day trade if not the most one-sided trade, full stop, in NBA history—but a great trade should benefit both teams in either the short or the long term to truly be considered a masterwork of a player …

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RIP, Tommy Heinsohn

Tom Heinsohn, 8-time championship-winning player, two-time champion coach, and 40-year legend of the broadcast booth, has died. He was 86. Reports say that Heinsohn, upon seeing the Grim Reaper come to take him to the afterlife, said “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! TERRIBLE CALL! GET OUTTA HERE!” The man was a civic icon for 64 years, from his Rookie of the Year season in 1956-57, where he beat out teammate Bill Russell, all the way to the cantankerous blatant homer beloved by TV viewers in Boston and always affectionately mocked by non-Celtics fans. Even if you’re a believer in the notion that …

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The Importance of Shortened NBA Playoff Rotations

During the NBA regular season, bench depth is a vital way to make sure that starters are fresh for the playoffs. Whether it’s pounding weak teams into dust so teams can use their end-of-the-bench guys in garbage time or simply having a second unit that can play 15 or 20 minutes a game and hold a lead, using every one of the 13 guys at a team’s disposal pays dividends in the spring (or, if there’s a plague around, the early fall.) Case in point, the Los Angeles Lakers. During their five-game series win over the Denver Nuggets, eight players …

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Antoine Walker: Was He Any Good?

Antoine Walker is as well-known for being a punchline in jokes about broke athletes (thanks to blowing $100 million on bad investments) as he was for anything he ever did on a basketball court. The epitome of both wasted potential and hilariously inefficient shooting—well, it was funny if you were a fan of the other team—Walker is a guy whose legacy is one of a cautionary tale. But he was also the second-best player on a Celtics team that nearly went to the NBA Finals at a time when the Eastern Conference existed entirely to provide cannon fodder for the …

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Jayson Tatum: Is He Any Good?

It’s a funny thing sometimes…you sit down to write an article and as you’re getting ready to tell people on Twitter to stay tuned for it, this happens. Jayson Tatum, how?! 😳#Celtics pic.twitter.com/ffIbJv5pgq — NBA TV (@NBATV) January 4, 2020 That’s Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, the subject of this week’s Is He Any Good, doing something that indeed says yes, he’s any good. He’s pretty good. One might even say very good. But that’s not really what we’re asking in the headline. Tatum is bandied about by Celtics fans as a would-be All-Star, a superstar in the making, …

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Jaylen Brown: Is He Any Good?

Jaylen Brown caused much consternation among a subset of Celtics fans when Boston signed him to a 4-year, $107 million contract extension ahead of Brown entering the final year of his rookie deal after getting drafted third overall in the 2016 draft. After all, a guy who averaged 13 points a game on .547 True Shooting and put up exactly zero VORP (as in, the same value you’d expect from a guy if you gave his minutes to an NBA-ready G-League player) is not the kind of guy to whom smart teams typically give max extensions. Worst-case scenario, the Celtics …

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Are the 2019-20 Boston Celtics Good?

Oh boy. Better put on a good, thick medieval helmet for this one…Boston Celtics fans are some of the most rabid and occasionally psycho fans on Twitter, and if I weren’t generally well-disposed toward them on account of having grown up in Boston during the Bird/McHale/Parish years I might very well think of them the way I think of Lakers fans…OK, let’s do this. The Boston Celtics were the most underachieving squad in the NBA in 2018-19. They won just 49 games, and if the Indiana Pacers hadn’t generously self-immolated down the stretch, the postseason could very easily have seen …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part I: Atlantic Division

We have talked extensively on the subject of Wiggins Factor, a formula designed to relate NBA salary to Win Shares on a per-minute basis and determine which players provide the most bang for the buck in terms of powering good teams to titles…or, by contrast, the players who are such a waste of money that every minute they’re on the floor all they do is bring your team closer to the draft lottery. But now it’s time to pull all the data together from across the league and give all those raw numbers some context. Over the next six days, …

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