The importance of your head coach is crucial in any sport. The great ones build cultures, legacies, and they leave lasting impressions with fans and players. The NBA's history is rich with many great coaches, and some of those greats give credit to their coaching staffs. Tom Thibodeau spent nearly 20 years in the NBA as an assistant coach, and his last gig as an assistant was with the Celtics before becoming a great coach in Chicago. His presence left a lasting impression with fans, he looked like he was out there on defense with the team. His ability to get the best out of the guys on defense is unique by an assistant coach. You just don't get that from many assistant coaches.
The importance of having a great coaching staff makes life easy for the head coach. Look at Ron Adams forming a relationship with Rondo, and how he's helped Rondo reformat his shooting form. Clifford Ray was the last big man coach in Boston that I recall. He seemed to play a crucial part in Perks career, Leon Powe's, and Big Baby's. The Celtics cut ties with Ray in 2009, and the Celtics haven't filled the void since then.
I thought about this, especially after a few stories that came out highlighting Rasheed Wallace's work with the young bigs of Detroit.
Still, Wallace has been there, he's done that.
“That’s somebody that’s been in every situation that we’re going to be in,” Monroe said. “He’s won a championship. He knows what it takes to play and be successful at the highest level in this league. He’s been sharing his wealth. He’s been sharing as much knowledge as possible.
“He still has that energy. He still has that passion. And for most players, that never goes away. You see Hall of Famers who have been done for years and years now, who still have that passion about that game. For somebody like him, who just stopped playing and went right into coaching, that passion is still going to be there.”
Wallace remains energetic and talkative, of course. But he has said he needs to tone it down now that he’s no longer playing. He must have accomplished that goal, too. He’s not even Caldwell-Pope’s loudest coach ever.
“He’s second,” the rookie said. “(Georgia coach) Mark Fox is pretty vocal.”
The Celtics have two young big men in need of some guidance. Kelly Olynyk has been on a roll as of late, but that doesn't mean he won't need some help along the way. Sullinger is the other young forward/center who could learn some more from guys who have played in the paint in the past. The Celtics could find a big man coach looking for work, or who wants a chance to coach. Patrick Ewing was big in Dwight Howard's growth in Orlando, and look how well Al Jefferson has played this year in Charlotte with Ewing there. I think you can give Ewing some credit with Jefferson this season.
Brad Stevens has been great, but I think your asking too much of him if you expect him to teach big men. That's why you have a staff. The Celtics could look within past great big men. Robert Parish, Dave Cowens, and maybe even Maxwell. The point is the Celtics need to find the right coach to help develop these guys. Another reason, and maybe the biggest reason to have a big man coach, is so that Kelly or Sully can have someone to speak with. Someone that they can relate with. I would even love to see P.J Brown back in a role like that.
I don't know if the Celtics will ever become proactive when it comes to pursing a coach to teach the youngsters. Maybe it will fall back onto Olynyk and Sullinger. Sometimes being proactive is the only way. I'm sure Cowens, or Parish, or some past big men would love to help. Hakeem has been a helpful tool for big men out there as well. Ainge should have a focus on this matter. I think it only helps the Celtics. I don't see the harm in bringing another coach on to help the big men.