That’s the one thing we don’t do. We just make moves to make us the best team we can possibly be with our personnel. Hopefully, that’s enough to make us a better team than them (Miami) and everyone else. – Doc Rivers
Initially, my thought to Rivers’ statements was “Yeah, right.” Of course Boston and every other team must react and make personnel moves in accordance to the changes made by other contenders. Yet, the more I thought about this, the more I actually bought into what Rivers said. There are 29 other teams in the NBA, not one. What if LeBron James or Dwyane Wade goes down with an injury, eliminating Miami as the primary threat in the Eastern Conference?
Had the roster moves been made solely in reaction to the Heat, it would undermine and nearly negate the significance of the moves that were made this summer. Moreover, Rivers’ claims are substantiated by Danny Ainge’s past moves.
When Kendrick Perkins was dealt for Jeff Green, many questioned how that would impact a potential meeting with Dwight Howard and the Magic. But Ainge didn’t react according to what the climate was in the East, but rather in the entire league. Ainge felt that by going smaller, he could better shape the roster to compete with the less-big-oriented landscape that has taken hold of NBA rosters. So, he acquired Green and fortified the wing, rather than continue to stack the roster with big men to counteract one team (Orlando).
The M.O. behind acquiring Courtney Lee, Darko Milicic, Jason Terry matched this perfectly. Milicic’s size was not needed to combat the Heat; Miami is weak on the interior. Terry was a precautionary measure in case Ray Allen bolted, which he did. And Courtney Lee was just a solid add to strengthen an already strong backcourt. None of these moves, nor the decisions to re-sign Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green (or Chris Wilcox for that matter), were based solely on the need to compete with the Miami Heat.