Celtics Question of the Day: Which C's assistant will move on next?

Celtics Question of the Day: Which C's assistant will move on next?
September 24, 2012, 1:42 pm
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In recent years, the Doc Rivers coaching tree has branched out as assistants have become NBA head coaches.

Tom Thibodeau left in 2010 as the Green Team's defensive czar and took his talents and clipboard to Chicago. His replacement on the Celtics' staff, Lawrence Frank, followed suit last year in taking over the Detroit Pistons.

So who will be next?

Celtics assistants Kevin Eastman and Armond Hill have the smarts, experience and track record to succeed if given an opportunity. But it's unlikely either of them will bolt anytime soon, and with good reason.

They're really good veteran assistants that Rivers knows he can lean on, and often does. And both have embraced that role and the responsibility that comes with it.

While Mike Longabardi and Jamie Young did an excellent job this past season on the C's bench, do not be surprised if Tyronn Lue emerges as the next Celtics assistant on the move.

He's an 11-year NBA veteran having won a pair of titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000 and 2001. Being a former player in itself doesn't make you head-coaching material. But in the NBA, it definitely helps.

When you scan the league's head coaching landscape, prior NBA experience seems to be a common thread among most of them. Of the 30 NBA head coaches for the 2012-2013 season, 20 are former players.

But the biggest knock against Lue is experience. This will be his fourth season with the Celtics, and second as an assistant coach. However, the 35-year-old did an impressive job this past summer running Boston's summer league teams in Orlando, Fla. and Las Vegas, respectively.

It also doesn't hurt that he's learning under Rivers, a former player who had no NBA coaching experience when he was picked to become the head coach of the Orlando Magic in 1999.

Regardless of experience, whether it comes as a player or as an NBA assistant, it means little if an opportunity doesn't present itself. And to Lue's credit, that's exactly what he's positioning himself for since coming to Boston.

After coming to grips with his playing career being a thing of the past, he went about laying the foundation for what he hopes will someday be an NBA head coaching job.

So as important as this season is for Rivers and his players, it's a pretty big deal for his assistants, too. Because they know a breakthrough season for the C's could easily pave the way towards their first NBA head coaching gig.