Is Doc already wavering about Shaq coming off the bench? | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Is Doc already wavering about Shaq coming off the bench?

Everything we've heard this summer has been about Shaquille O'Neal coming off the bench. Shaq's going to anchor that second unit. 

There was never an inkling of doubt that Jermaine O'Neal would be the starter and Shaq would play 15-20 minutes off the bench.  Until now.

Speaking after the Celtics’ practice Tuesday, Doc Rivers said that he doesn’t plan on rotatingJermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal in the starting lineup depending on match-ups, instead going with one consistent starter until Kendrick Perkins returns from his knee injury.

“I doubt it. I don’t usually do that,” said Rivers when asked if he was going to alternate between two big men. “I usually just go with one, and that’s what we’ll do. I’m going to wait until the end of camp and the best big wins.”

You're going to what now?  Best big wins?  What happened to all that other talk?  What happened to Jermaine's the starter and Shaq's the guy who you can dump the ball to on the second unit?  

I still think Jermaine's a better starting center simply because Shaq is more valuable as a bench player.  Even if Shaq is playing better than Jermaine, I like him better as a guy who'll take on back up centers and force a lot more team fouls against slightly inferior competition.  And when that second unit loses its focus, you can dump it to Shaq in the post and let him do something.  

Meanwhile, Jermaine can benefit from being on the floor with four All Stars.  He'll get a lot more open shots and rebounds just in the flow of the offense… just like Perk did.  He's more agile than Shaq, so he'll work better along side KG down low.  

Regardless of how camp goes, I still like Shaq coming off the bench.  Doc needs to make a call and stick with it.  

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  • Lee in Oregon

    I like Jermaine starting too. I’ve said this before, but Jermaine tends to get off early, and not so much later. Having said that, we’re one injury away from starting Semih, so props to DA for locking up both O’Neals.
    Makes sense for Shaq to be with the green team. I think his passing helps that unit alot.

  • Rondo is not guilty

    I couldn’t disagree with you guys more…!
    Shaq needs to start! That’s the best use we could make of our bigs! Having both shaq and Big baby’s weight down there would make the 2nd unit undersized (except for shaq) with slow heavy similar bigs…
    Complementarity is better than having identical skills next to each other… KG and JO would lack the bulk and big baby and shaq would lack the mobility…
    I found it more usefull to have KG and Shaq together and JO and big bay together…
    Plus with Rondo involved and KG convering, Shaq’s PnR defense weakness could be contained…

  • Jason

    I’m sorry, but as much as I love Perk, he had marginal hands, marginal finishing and played below the rim. Sometimes it was 4 on 5 when the Cs had the ball. Perk’s limitations manifested themselves in a NUMBER of ways. His guy played off, lack of trust meant the ball didn’t go to him even when it should, he dropped passes, he travelled, he missed layups, he got blocked, just lots of negatives. Now, hell no will an opposing player just leave Shaq alone. Hell yeah will he get the ball as a threat in the post and either dominate his man or open the floor with double teams. Perk never came close to providing either production or the threat of production. Shaq’s not a KG-level passer, but he’s no slouch and can still pass and look over the top of the D doing it. Two bigs like KG and Shaq making interior passes to guys cutting liek Rondo and Ray? Yes please. Shaq can also play above the rim. Add some oops that Perk never would get. Add some offensive boards. As long as he’s fit (and btw have you seen some of the camp photos of Shaq? He looks in shape), Shaq would add a major dimension to this offense. The way Rondo breaks down the D, Ray cuts and spreads, Pierce creates and KG picks and pops and everything else, Shaq could easily double Perk’s scoring. Let’s also not forget Shaq is a foul generating machine. When have the C’s ever gotten the advantage of having the other team’s bigs in foul trouble? With Perk and KG, never. Force Bynum to sit. Force Gasol to sit. Force Odum to sit. Wouldn’t that have changed the complexion of that series? Get other teams in the bonus earlier, too. Perk is a beast, but c’mon, Shaq is a beast among beasts … with genuine, sometimes-still-dominating offensive skill to boot. All those “empty” plays because Perk was still an offensive liability are now productive plays. The first unit was just as guilty of offensive stagnation as the second last year. Dump it to Shaq and actually make something out of the possession. And even if not that, he (himself or just by his girth/presence/occupation allowing for others) should improve the offensive rebounding.
    I like Jermaine’s game, too, but I think Shaq with the starters would really light up the scoreboard. Better finishing, better passing, a LEGIT low post option, better spacing, more fouls drawn, more offensive boards. Shaq with the first unit would be a force.