I have a go-to stat from last season when I talk about this team:
The Boston Celtics were 24-10 since the All Star break last year.
That run largely featured a starting line up of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
I like those starters. I like the way they work together. I like bigs who spread the floor, a slasher who can take advantage of space, a wild card who finds opens spaces, and a point guard who ties it all together.
But Doc Rivers clearly has a different idea about this upcoming season. With guys like Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger, and even Darko Milicic providing different dimensions to this team, Doc is hinting that some of those guys could occasionally find their way into the starting line up.
Of course, he says that now, on October 10th.
Who knows what Doc is really saying here. He could be really saying what he’s saying, letting us all know that, depending on the match-ups, some guys who normally start games on the bench will get into the starting rotation. Maybe a jump-shooting big like Brandon Bass could help create more space on the second unit for guys like Terry and Lee, thus easing the “create off the dribble” burden on a unit without a true point guard.
He could be pushing some guys to work harder. It’s not unheard of for a coach to use the fear of lost minutes on some guys… or dangle the carrot of more minutes to others. It’s hard to say right now. These guys are just coming off a quick trip abroad where they played non-NBA talent. It’s possible some guys were tired, complacent, or both.
It’s impossible to say what the end result will be here. My guess is that Doc won’t tinker TOO much with the starting lineup because he knows damn well that athletes thrive on consistency. These guys have routines that help them get ready to perform at peak levels. Messing with that is not often a good strategy.
But they’re also professionals. And what harm is there if Bass or Bradley go to the bench for 10 games in a 72 game season? Is it really THAT horrible?
We’ll see how it plays out this season. My money is on this being little more than a pre-season flash-point for blog and Twitter discussion.