Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Yet every compliment he heaped on Collins after a one-point, two-rebound, six-foul effort in 23 minutes of a 103-91 victory against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers was also a veiled swipe at the higher-priced, higher-ceiling players who weren’t getting the job done before Rivers felt he had to make a change.
“His preparation is good,” said Rivers of Collins, who has scored three points in 80 minutes this season heading into Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. “He’s very attuned. You can hear him on the bench telling guys what they should’ve done when they’ve come out of the game all year.”
Now, as the coach appears set to move forward with Collins as his starting center and Kevin Garnett as the team’s power forward – at least, in the very short term – the ripple effect will be lost minutes for players once considered critical to the team’s rotations.
On Wednesday night, the minutes victims of Jason Terry joining Collins in the new starting five were mainly Leandro Barbosa, Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox. Green played only 14 minutes off the bench – again struggling with just three points on 1-for-4 shooting with one rebound. Barbosa played three minutes and Wilcox never got off the pine.
The message is clear from Doc.
“If you don’t want to get the job done, I’m going to find somebody who will.”
Meaningful minutes aren’t bestowed upon you in this league, and especially not on this team. Does this smack of desperation? Of course. Whatever Doc has tried behind the scenes isn’t resonating with these guys. So Doc’s going to try something else… taking away their minutes until they figure out exactly how they need to play to earn their minutes back.
Though part of me wonders if Doc might stumble on to something with this move.
Maybe the Celtics need a 5th guy in the starting line up that is simply a pick-setter. Maybe they need a guy who doesn’t need the ball like Bass does to get himself going offensively. Collins is content with setting other guys up and making sure they’re free to work. Maybe that’s what these guys need rather than a guy who is looking to get the ball.
I’m not saying Collins is the answer (as Chuck said.. he can’t be, he just can’t). But maybe the Celtics search for a big man focuses on a guy who can do all those things and rebound a little better. Or maybe one of the guys who just lost his minutes can start doing that a little better.
Until then, the warning shots have been sent. We’ll see how guys respond.
The rest of the links: