Red Auerbach Rumors
“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told The Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter.” According to Reed, it is less a health issue with Jackson, 71, and more an 11-rings mindset of “Let the record stand for itself.” Reed said he thinks Jackson still can reach modern players. “When I was a young player, the most impressive coach for me would’ve been Red Auerbach because of his record,’’ Reed said. “Same thing with Phil Jackson with his record in Chicago and L.A. I’d want to play for Phil Jackson. He’s got a history with Kobe, Jordan and Shaquille and made them champions.”
“I think the thing that separates [Thomas] from other players is his quickness,” Havlicek said. “Red Auerbach always said it’s not how fast you are, it’s how quick you are. He certainly is quick with the ball and he’s also low to the ground and gets to places where other people can’t because of their size. I think he’s been an absolute delight to watch.”
28 Dec 16
And Riley, more than the other three, was an opportunist — he never stopped looking for a better situation or another advantage. Riley was blessed with Popovich’s attention to culture and Jackson’s savviness for aligning with special players, but really, the dude has been more Auerbachian than he’d ever admit. We remember Auerbach as an insane competitor who never stopped looking for the next edge. Sound familiar? Once upon a time, Riley despised Auerbach’s Celtics so much that, during one mid-’80s practice at Boston Garden, he asked his trainer to dump the Lakers’ water barrel because he actually feared Auerbach had tried to poison it. But Auerbach is the only other NBA executive in 70 years, dead or alive, who could have pulled off LeBron and Bosh in the summer of 2010. Nobody else had enough foresight or charisma. It’s two people and two people only.
Maxwell freely admitted it was difficult watching Fred Roberts and Mikki Moore wear No. 31 before it was retired. And he suggested that the Celtics formulate a list — with the help of a committee of former players, executives, and public relations employees — of players whose numbers would be considered untouchable. Obviously, No. 2 (Red Auerbach), 6 (Russell), 17 (Havlicek), and 33 (Bird) would be on that list. But what about 18 (Cowens), 21 (Bill Sharman), 22 (Ed Macauley), 23 (Frank Ramsey), 24 (Sam Jones), and 25 (K.C. Jones)? Would No. 15 (Heinsohn), 16 (Tom Sanders) or 19 (DonNelson) be considered untouchable?
Rivers, who led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship and to Game 7 of the Finals in 2010, said he still feels a strong bond with the organization. “It’s more because of the Celtics and more because of Red Auerbach,” Rivers said. “When you’re a Celtic, you become a Celtic, you stay a Celtic no matter where you’re at, and you always want them to do well. That’s what stood out for me there. When we won it, looking at Tommy Heinsohn almost in tears because we won, I thought was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I’ll never forget that and that will always be a part of me, so yeah, I want them to do great. Probably two games, I don’t. It is nice being in the West than in the East, then you can cheer for them a little bit more.”
Amazing as Auerbach’s last admission sounds for the man who’s been making Boston’s draft picks and trades, other general managers say it’s the truth. “I think Red is probably the greatest general manager and coach we’ve ever had in this league up to this point,” says Donnie Walsh, now in his fourth season as the Indiana Pacers’ team president and GM. “I’ve read all his books, but I don’t think I’ve ever personally talked to him.”