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Sorry, but this needs to be written. Celtics fans are probably the most knowledgeable pro basketball fans out there, but the aspersions thrown at coach Doc Rivers by fans that he refuses to play young players, especially rookies really is misguided. It's the type of stuff I'd expect from bandwagon Lakers or Heat fans. Doc plays rookies. More than most coaches even (read on and you'll see the proof). 

Not one respected media member (or even non respected one) has ever made the claim that Doc won't play young players. They would never be so stupid. Ask Jackie MacMullan, Bob Ryan, Marc Spears, A. Sherrod Blakely, Gary Washburn, Chris Forsberg, Jessica Camerato, anyone and they'd be like, "Huh?" Young players earn playing time in practice. If you've attended practices you'd know why rookies Gabe Pruitt, Bill Walker, Lester Hudson, Avery Bradley, and the Purdue boys don't get playing time. But since the whining that Doc hates young players and rookies won't seem to end in the comments section, in the shout box, on twitter, facebook, and on Celtics forums and blogs, I've gone and done the research and you'll see that Doc does play rookies. He just doesn't play rookies who suck.

Orlando Magic
1999/2000
Rookie 20 year old Corey Maggette averaged 18 minutes a game for the season and even started 5 games.
Rookie Pat Garrity averaged 18 mpg

2000/2001
Rookie 20 year old Mike Miller started 62 games, averaging 29mpg and won Rookie of the Year
Yup I won R.O.Y. Thanks Doc.


2001/2002
Rookie 20 year old Steven Hunter started 21 games

2002/2003
Rookie 21 year old Drew Gooden started 18 of the 19 games he played for Orlando after being acquired at the trade deadline.

Boston Celtics
2004/2005
Rookie Tony Allen started 24 games and averaged 16.4 mpg.
Rookie Straight out of high school Al Jefferson averaged 15mpg.
Rookie 21 year old Delonte West averaged 13mpg


2005/2006
Rookie Straight out of high school Gerald Green averaged 12mpg (even though he had no business being on an NBA court. Green's rookie year would end up being the highlight of his brief NBA career.)
Thanks Doc for letting me start as a
rookie & on the championship team.
Rookie Ryan Gomes started 33 games and averaged 23 mpg (much more than he averages now)
Rookie Orien Green averaged 15.4 mpg and started 5 games. (Out of the league a few years later)

2006/2007
Rookie 20 year old Rajon Rondo averaged 24 mpg and started 25 games
Rookie Leon Powe averaged 11.4 mpg

2007/2008
Rookie Glen Davis averaged 14 mpg.
Gabe Pruitt didn't play because he sucked and is now out of the league.

2008/2009
J.R. Giddens sucked and is out of the league. Bill Walker only plays because the Knicks have no depth.

2009/2010
Lester Hudson (see Pruitt and Giddens)

2010/2011
Rookie Semih Erden played in all 37 games in Boston starting 7 of them. Didn't see the same playing time on a garbage Cavs team.
Luke Harangody even averaged 9 mpg as a rookie on the Celtics. He now plays 3mpg for the Cavs.
20 year old Avery Bradley barely played because he might be the worst offensive player in the NBA right now.

We never had it as good as we did as rookies under Doc.
As you can see Doc plays rookies. He starts them even. He has a rookie of the year on his resume. He started two young twenties players on the 2008 championship team. Doc will gladly play any rookie who has talent. He just won't play scrubs. If Moore and Johnson aren't playing, it's not because "Doc hates rookies." That wasn't the reason for Bradley, Giddens, Walker, Pruitt, or Hudson either.

If you can play, you'll show that in practice. Stiemsma has. Semih did. So did Baby, Rondo, Gomes, Powe, Perkins, TA, Delonte and Jefferson. And before that all the above mentioned Magic players. If you want crappy rookies like Gerald Green to play then you should be rooting for teams that strive to win no more than 20 games in a 82 game season.

I barely played because I sucked. That's
why I'm out of the league.
Stop disrespecting Doc with these aspersions. He's a fantastic coach. And while no coach (besides Red) can be perfect, not playing young players/rookies is not one of Doc's negatives. Hopefully the above proves this. I like Bradley, Moore, and Johnson as people. I'm rooting for them. They'll play more when/if Rivers deems them ready. Based on his stellar record, Doc knows best. I trust him 100%. For me, I am happy to have a link that I can now simply reply with (at least on Celtics Life) whenever for what the most part very knowledgeable fans bring up this myth. It really needs to stop.

JR 1/09/2012 06:24:00 PM Edit
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