Red's Legacy: Keep It Simple

I have been reading a lot of books on the history of the Celtics. In all of them, one thing has caught my attention.  When reading about Red Auerbach and his approach to the game, his motto was always  "Keep it simple."  

“He always thought the simpler you keep things the easier for the players to remember,” Larry Bird once said. “Especially in tight situations, they knew exactly what they were going to do. He never believed in drawing up a special play at the end of games or the end of a half. He just wanted to keep it simple."

Red's philosophy was to keep it simple and make sure that players knew their roles. Maybe this is what made his teams so great. Red's players didn't have to deal with multiple offensive and defensive sets and rather than having to memorize a multitude of plays,  they knew exactly what their roles were. They could just go out and play ball and that is what they did, championship after championship. Red would tell his players "Just do what you do best."  

The one thing that always surprised me was how he could get players off another team and they would perform better for the Celtics than they did for their previous team.  Bailey Howell, Don Nelson,  Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish, and the list goes on.   He had a talent for this and he did it year after year.

It could be that  on their old teams, they weren't sure of their roles, and had coaches that tried to micromanage the players.   When they got to Red's teams,  they knew exactly what was expected of them.  Over and over I've read the same comments from players who felt like they had a new lease on life playing in the Celtics system.   They got to just play basketball and they excelled. The Celtics played as a team. Everyone had their role and they were a team and the goal of each player was just to win. 

I think this season would be a very good time for Doc to adhere to Red's motto of keeping it simple.    Doc needs to be sure that each player knows his role and let each one do what he does best.  This approach would help players like Marquis Daniels, Von Wafer and Nate Robinson.  They need to know their roles and be able to just play those roles.  Last season, Marquis never had a defined role.  He was a forward but also expected to be the ball handler. 

Red's philosophy was to keep it simple and his teams were always successful with this approach, whether it was a young team or a veteran team. This season, keeping it simple and giving each player, especially the new players,  a set role might be the best thing Doc could do. Doc needs to go back to basics and borrow a page from Red's playbook and just keep it simple.