Former Boston Celtics' championship head coach throws new organization under the bus

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game One
Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game One / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

No one has benefited from the 2008 Boston Celtics championship quite like Doc Rivers. 

After a tumultuous run the last few years with the Philadelphia 76ers that saw multiple playoff collapses and public rifts with some players, Rivers was fired and sent into exile, calling games for ESPN. When the Milwaukee Bucks hired him to lead the then-30-13 club, it seemed like the perfect fit for a coach trying to revitalize his legacy.

It's somehow been worse than even the biggest Rivers detractors could have imagined, and he's slinging blame at everyone but himself. When discussing his team's struggles on the road, he found blame with literally everyone except himself.

"I’ve actually been sitting back and watching everything," Rivers said (h/t Sports Illustrated). Not just our players but our travel crew, everything—I made a lot of notes. We don’t bring the necessary professionalism, seriousness on the road. That's something we're going to have to fix."

The Boston Celtics can't fully underestimate anyone -- especially the Milwaukee Bucks

I subscribe to the notion that the Celtics' biggest adversary in pursuit of Banner 18 is themselves. No matter who is across from them, they will always have a significant talent advantage due to the immense depth of this team. They have been historically excellent at protecting the parquet this season and will have a homecourt advantage throughout the season. The path might figuratively run through Denver, but it's Boston's title to lose.

Regardless of their record, the Miami Heat still pose the most significant threat to the Cs due to their psychological edge. No matter how cliche the phrase has become, "Heat culture" is a real thing. During their recent playoff meeting, Eric Spoelstra coached circles around Joe Mazzulla. Jimmy Butler alone has caused multiple promising Celtic postseason performances to unravel at the seams, changing the course of a series. Regardless of their record or the cast of characters, they will be a concern until it's rectified. 

Due to the Heat's plethora of injuries and streaky supporting cast, they've become an afterthought, and the Bucks have slotted in their place as the mainstream media's choice for the unit with the second-best chance to win the Eastern Conference. The presence of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard instantly elevates them as viable challengers. Even with the two superstars, the Bucks haven't been very good. 

Since Rivers took over the helm, the Bucks are 15-15. When Lillard doesn't play, they are 1-6 and worse in every notable category. Their defense has deteriorated further, and opposing guards are torching their backcourt. In transition, they are particularly putrid, repeatedly failing to get back and allowing a swarm of open dunks and layups. 

Looking beyond the star power, they're just a sloppy team with a train wreck of a coach, which is precisely why the Celtics need to take them seriously. Giannis has already brought the Larry O'Brien trophy back to Milwaukee and is still widely heralded as one of the top three players in the sport. Giannis' brute force and physicality become much more impactful in the playoffs when the game slows down considerably. 

Lillard doesn't have the same postseason resume as his teammate, but he is one of the greatest volume scorers the games have ever seen. He's had a subpar year for his standards, but he's the kind of player who can quickly turn that narrative around. If Caleb Martin can suddenly catch fire when the lights are brightest, imagine what Damian Lillard is capable of. 

The Bucks could not be colder heading into the playoffs, and their coach is actively throwing everyone in the organization under the bus. They are at their most vulnerable, and the path to the Finals has undoubtedly widened. Yet Boston tends to overlook its opponents, which plays into its glaring weakness. Milwaukee is still a threat because of their two future first-ballot Hall of Famers. They will always have a chance, no matter how incompetent the person on the sidelines leading them seems to be.