If and when the Celtics can field a relatively fully healthy team, then we can all expect to see Shaq starting the game with the interim Nenad Krstic backing him up, along with Big Baby. We have seen Krstic mesh pretty well thus far with the starting unit, but once Shaq returns, what will his role be off the bench? If we think of Big Baby, we can figure it out a little bit.
No, I don’t think they will make a bet with him to draw a record number of charges to surpass Davis. Rather they will look to utilize him in the 2-3 Arc play that they run from time to time. Typically it’s run with the starters and backup center and Rondo usually runs it in several consecutive possessions, but with a different option.
- Example #1 – 0:00-0:10 – Rondo sets up on the left wing with Pierce setting up on the post. Krstic, KG and Ray are all set up on the right wing. As Rondo makes the post entry pass to Pierce, KG cuts to the hoop, Krstic cuts to the top of the key, while Ray cuts to the right baseline corner. In this option, Pierce gets it to Krstic who passes up an open jumper, firing a pass to KG underneath. KG notices Vince Carter cheating off of Ray, then finds him for the three.
- Example #2 – 0:11-0:15 – Same setup, this time Pierce sets a screen for Rondo who drives to the hoop dumping it off to KG. KG is unselfish again as he kicks it back out to Krstic who takes, and makes, the jumper.
- Example #3 – 0:21-0:36 – Substitute Ray for Pierce, and you have the setup. This time Ray sets a screen for Rondo who drives to the hoop again and passes it to the cutting Ray on a screen/roll. Ray gets cut off on the baseline, and kicks it back out to Krstic who takes, but misses the jumper this time. He does follow his own shot and gets the offensive board but is unable to save it to a teammate. Even though he missed, the play was executed quite well.
- Example #4 – 0:38 – 0:50 – In this set, it’s KG setting up with Rondo, initially looking like he’s going to post up. Instead, he sets a quick screen for Rondo and as this is happening, Krstic cuts to the hoop and Rondo gives him a nice bounce pass for the lay-up.
- Example #5 – 0:53 – 1:02 – Same setup as Example #4, except Phoenix doesn’t bit on the screen. Rondo passes it to KG in the high post, and from there he executes a nice pass to the cutting Krstic who gets fouled attempting a lay-up. Krstic made one of two free throws, but the point here is that he’s picking up one of their staple sets as a reserve center relatively quickly.
They don’t run it with Shaq and didn’t run it in the brief time that Kendrick Perkins played this season. They have run it quite a bit with Davis, and the other night against Phoenix, they tested it out with Krstic with solid results. Check the video highlights below for examples: