#Celtics coach Doc Rivers: I think Jeff Green has earned (being a starter going forward) so yeah (we’re going to stick with it).
— Scott Souza (@scott_souza) April 4, 2013
There is a stark difference between Jeff Green’s numbers as a starter and as a reserve.
In 11 games as a starter this year, Green is averaging 22.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 56.3% from the floor and 54.1% from 3.
In 64 games as a reserve this year, Green is averaging 10.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 44.3% from the floor and 33.1% from 3.
He’s averaging 38 minutes a game as a starter versus about 26 as a reserve, so the extra rebounds and assists are really a result of being on the floor more. But he shoots and scores better as a starter. So Doc’s making the switch.
So what will the starting lineup be when Kevin Garnett returns (which might be Sunday, according to Doc)? Considering Doc’s been going big lately, it’s possible he could start Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Green, Garnett and Brandon Bass. It’s also possible Doc could start Green at the 4, sit Bass, and start Courtney Lee. I’m betting we’ll see both of those lineups, depending on the matchup with the other team.
For example, against the Miami Heat, Doc could have Bradley and Lee guarding Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade, with Green on LeBron, Garnett on Bosh, and Pierce on Udonis Haslem. And think about the matchup problem that creates for Miami. As Chuck asked when I brought up this scenario: “who guards Pierce for Miami?”
The real concern with this new lineup is with Brandon Bass, who is starting to find a little groove. He’s averaging 13.4 points while shooting 54.3%… well above his season averages of 8.3 points on 47.3% shooting. And as Chuck noted in the Morning Dump, Bass’ defense has been huge lately.
So what happens to him if he hits the bench again? We’re finally starting to see some of the Brandon Bass we saw last season. It’d be a shame for that to suddenly go away just weeks from the playoffs.
Green has certainly earned a starting spot. Bass is finally making his case to remain a starter. And Courtney Lee has proven that he and Bradley can make one hell of a defensive pairing in the backcourt. This is going to leave Doc with some interesting decisions.
One other note to come out of practice. Paul Pierce said if there was a regular season game today, he wouldn’t play because of his sore right foot. He is expected to play tomorrow, though. Just something to keep an eye on moving forward.