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The “Start Daniels” Movement Gains Steam

 

A few commenters have been suggesting it for several weeks, and now Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com gives some MSM cred to the idea of starting Marquis Daniels and placing Ray Allen with the second unit:

At a time when Boston is clearly struggling to generate open looks for Allen, maybe it makes more sense to get a slasher on the floor like Daniels, who is sure to remove some stagnancy from the first unit with his tireless movement.

What’s more, Daniels is one of Boston’s top defenders, allowing him to guard the opposing team’s best player and taking some of that pressure off Paul Pierce early in games.

And:

The other benefit is that Allen now comes off the bench, not only driving down his minutes, but giving Boston a Jamal Crawford-like scorer with the second unit. Sure, Nate Robinson was brought in for similar bench output, but if there’s one knock on Boston’s second unit, it’s that their scoring isn’t always overwhelming.

Let’s compile a brief pro/con list:

• Pro: We have 2 3/4 seasons of evidence that Ray Allen playing with the second unit is a very, very productive line-up. I’ve written before about Allen’s strange ability to make his teammates better, and that has been most visible in the production of line-ups featuring Allen and four bench players. This part of the equation is easy: Ray + Bench = Productive.

• Con: A Daniels/Rondo back court is a very, very poor jump-shooting back court. We all know about Rondo, but Daniels has historically had an effective field-goal percentage on jumpers in the mid-30s, according to 82games (see here and here, for instance) and Hoopdata. Playing these guys together for five minutes a game is one thing; playing them together for 15 minutes is a different thing, and it could create spacing issues that gum up the works on offense.

• Pro: Ray plays fewer minutes, saving his legs for the playoffs;

• Con: There are other ways to cut Ray’s minutes, like, for instance, cutting his minutes.

• Pro: As Forsberg notes, Daniels is easy guy to play with. He’s a good passer, and you can fit him into a new line-up smoothly.

• Con: If the starters are struggling, does it make sense to make a drastic change and remove Allen? Remember: A huge percentage of Boston’s go-to offensive sets involve Allen moving off the ball as either Option #1 or a second/third option if the primary play doesn’t work. Nobody else on the team plays Ray’s style, so you’re talking about tossing out a lot of plays the starters are used to.

• Pro: An Allen/Nate Robinson back court could be very, very dynamic offensively. The line-up data show that when Boston’s bench struggles, it’s because they struggle to score. The defense remains strong.

• Con: This sort of change doesn’t really address any of the team’s core problems, and Ray is going to play the key minutes anyway. Marquis Daniels is not a savior, but then again, nobody thought inserting Robin Lopez into the Phoenix starting line-up would turn their season around.

I’m swamped today, so I don’t have time for more. What do you guys think?

  • DRJ1

    Dumb and dumber. They’ve got 19 games to go. Are they going to try out this new lineup and, if it works ok, DO IT IN THE PLAYOFFS? Uh uh. I don’t think so. There is zero point to these experiments unless they can be useful in the playoffs. It’s way too late to reconstruct this team. It is what it is.

    And besides, the current lineup is not broken… just chokes once in a while. Other times, it sings.

    But hey, “commentators” gotta eat too. They get paid by the word, don’t they?

  • Jay P

    I’m all for it. Putting him out there not only helps Ray Allen by cutting his minutes (and helps the second unit when Ray’s on the floor with them, as we’ve all seen.) But it helps Paul get some needed rest as well, as there wont be as much pressure on him defensively to take on the big guns. Daniels in my mind is the best 2/3 Defender we have (no offense to Paul, he’s been great there in the past, but he’s a low slower this year) and having him take the big guns will take a lot of pressure of Paul and help save his legs a bit.

    I like it, and what’s the risk? If I doesn’t work, you go back to starting Ray, whatever. If it works, hell ya you use it in the playoffs, why not? Ray’s still going to play the crunch time minutes, and guess what, he’ll be more energized when it matters then. Where’s the downside again? I don’t see it.

  • patrick

    i think this is a very bad idea if u look at this team in the allen kevin era allen has clearly been the best player and has made the most clutch shots remember kevin would not even be here if they didnt get allen if u wanna bench someone bench mr 34 i still dont know why people think he is so good

  • Jay P

    @patrick

    I’m not arguing that, Allen has no doubt been one of our best players. But you’re looking at this wrong you’re not “benching” Allen, you’re enabling him to score in new ways to help the team.

    Allen doesn’t need a lot of minutes to score points, when he’s shooting well, and getting looks, he’s an extremely efficient scorer. The first unit is still going to be able to spread the floor with Pierce/Garnett, and you add a slasher who can get to the hoop when Garnett pulls a big guy out of the center, I’d personally love to see the options when you clear Garnett out, pull a big guy of the paint, and run a Daniels/Rondo screen and roll, two guys who are quick, athletic, good passer, and can finish at the rim, there’s so many good things that can come of it.

  • matthew

    i agree with patrick and DRJ1. as much as i would love to see cut ray-ray’s minutes, i think it’s too late, at this point, to make hasty experiments. having said that, i would actually LOOOVVVEEE to see pierce come off the bench (with daniels as starter). that would burst pierce’s egotistical bubble that he’s “the best player in the league” or one of the “greatest shooters in NBA history” and maybe, just maybe… give him that extra push.

    in any case, all this seems futile now. no way are the celts advancing past the conference semis… *sniff* i hope i’m wrong on that one though.

    danny, please… sign and trade pierce next season! ech!

  • matthew

    let’s face it. the celts aren’t exactly dominating the league right now, but they aren’t in the bottom of the pile either. stick with what works. A 50-plus win season ain’t bad at all, is it?

  • Craig

    Zack Lowe check your spelling and grammar!!!!

    And what’s with this line at the end:

    “I’m swamped today, so I don’t have time for more. What do you guys think?”- Zack Lowe

    Why bother writing an article if you’re not going to go the whole 48 minutes. Ironic actually. Kinda like the Celtics play at times this year

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @matthew: Pierce playing with the bench has been a bad line-up for the past 3 seasons, according to 82games. Just hasn’t worked.

  • Pingback: Should the Celtics start Marquis Daniels? : Celtics Town

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @Craig: After reading your comment, I did find one spelling/grammar error (“is” instead of “his”). I appreciate you pointing that out. If I were nit-picky, I’d point out you spelled my name wrong–twice–in your comment pointing out my spelling errors.

    As for the line at the end, just making it clear that this is a discussion-starter and not the definitive analysis of this question.

  • matthew

    Lol! Craig’s pissed! :o)

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    The more i think about this issue, the more opposed to the move I am. It’s change for the sake of change, with little or no basketball reason behind it. Lopez starting for PHX is a different deal–they needed more defense, and they had some evidence he’d be a good defense presence for them. But I’m still running it around.

    I highly doubt it will happen anyway, but you never know.

  • matthew

    @zach- that’s before his horrendous average of 17 points per game. maybe he’ll listen to reason now and think for himself that he’s no longer a great one.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @matthew: good point. He may be a different sort of player now.

  • ranen645

    sit pierce.

  • GranTur

    This is a kick in the nads to Allen and makes no sense.

    Daniels is a great role player not a championship starting rotation player.

    Allen is not a role player.

  • Jay P

    Ray is a consummate professional, he’ll do whatever he can to help this team the best he can, no matter starting or not, or how many minutes he plays, he gives his all every time, without exception.

    This has nothing to do with the effect the move would have an Allen, I’m not worried about that in the least. I fail to see how you don’t see a “basketball reason” behind it. Ray is obviously on the floor in the 4th quarter when the game is on the line, no question about it. But he’s been proven to make that 2nd unit better, why not give him a longer stretch with them? And you putting a lot of pressure on opposing team’s second unit defenses having to try and stop the dynamic scorers this second unit will have (Robinson, Allen, Wallace, that unit can hurt you in so many different ways.)

    He helps Pierce out defensively, because he can guard big, athletic swing-men better than Pierce or Allen can, and the move gets Allen more rest for the home stretch of games.

    … Someone point out that I’m missing something, because I don’t understand the opposition to this.

  • Blackberry33

    Pierce needs to be the one sitting not Ray. Ray is our offense. Pierce is one of the many problems we have. I would say sit Perkins but Sheed is horrible in his own right. We need to look at some “d” league players to juice up the offense. Morris Almond anyone?

  • http://perkisabeast.com/blog Carl Spackler

    It works for Manu.

    I agree with Blackberry that production needs to come from Pierce, but also think moving Ray to the bench opens things up for the ball running through Paul more frequently.

    Paul and Ray aren’t all that compatible unless KG is 2007 form.

    Perk needs to reform to Beast-form stat, he’s just complacent right now.

  • steve

    How about keeping the starting lineup intact and just changing up the rotations off the bench? Bring the bench in earlier when the starters don’t have it going and leave the hot guys in there. So many games you watch a starter struggle then Shelden or Daniels comes in, plays well with a positive effect, and Doc takes them back out because they’ve played their 6 minutes for the half. Get some fresh legs out there every game and stick with the guys that are making it happen.

    As far as Ray as sixth man I believe he is the only starter that would accept that role without any issues. Still don’t think that’s the answer. Again, if it’s 4 minutes into the game and a starter is throwing the ball away and getting beat on defense put someone else out there. You don’t have to wait until the 9 or 10 minute mark like it’s written in stone.

  • rondoislove

    Honestly.. some of you say that it’s too late for any hasty experiments right now. They’re not gonna get any higher than third seed in the East (unless they magically win all 19 games from here on out), so might as well do what they can to try to make third seed, right?

    I’m honestly all for having Allen play the 6th man role. Yes, he definitely is starter material and yes, I’m a HUGE Allen fan so it would kind of break my heart to see him in this position… but if he can make our bench more productive, what have we got to lose? Daniels has proven that even when he’s feeling completely under the weather, he can still defend well. Because he can play the 2 or the 3, he can also defend the 2 or the 3 (most teams’ best players are either 2 or 3). We all can tell that Allen and Pierce (even Garnett) aren’t doing well defensively so might as well give them some ease.

    Think about it this way. Just because Boston takes Allen out of the starting line up doesn’t mean that opposing teams will take their Ray-defender out of their starting line up (because most teams have one of their starters guarding Ray). If Allen comes in with the second unit, the opponents will also be forced to play their Ray-defender extra minutes if their bench player can’t guard him, and chances are… they can’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if that defender ends up playing almost the entire game, give or take a couple minutes. That would wear out the defender, thus the chances of him being a step slow on D will be much higher… and we’ve all seen what happens when defenders are step slow versus Ray.

    If Pierce doesn’t help make the bench productive, why would you want to bring him in with the second unit just because he isn’t playing well? Yes, I would like to see his “egotistical bubble” popped as well, but he isn’t the type of guy who will take that sort of news very well. Not only will it make the bench less productive, it’s just going to frustrate him even more and I feel like his play will just decline. Ray has mentioned over and over that he wouldn’t mind getting more rest, right? It’s still guaranteed he’s gonna be on the floor during crunch time anyway, so seriously… how much could it hurt?

  • Conall Mac Michael

    I think I noticed some people asking for Pierce to be traded next year, are ye serious. He’s still dealing with an injury and I think he can still be an extremely efficient player (when healthy). Trading him would be totally blowing up this team, which I realise might no be such a terrible thing. Any other opinions on this??? Also in the last couple of posts, ones specifically dealing with the Grizz debacle, a lot of people were calling for Doc’s head. Was that just reactionary vitriol or is it a legitimate feeling. I know a lot of players and coaches would not blame Doc for the underwhelming play this season and a lot of other people think the starters attitudes are to blame. Either way do you guys really think Doc should get the chop at the end of this season????

  • rondoislove

    @Conall –

    I agree with you on trading Pierce. And truthfully, I like Doc. I love how he isn’t a blubbering idiot like Mike Brown (how on earth did Brown become a coach anyway?), doesn’t panic when things don’t go his way and isn’t afraid to blame the team for their struggles rather than blame the officiating or blame the opponent for playing dirty or something.

    I really think it’s in the starters’ attitudes. They’re constantly talking about how changes need to be made, but no one is doing anything! Perk said it himself that guys are just bored, etc… but I don’t see him truly stepping up his game. People aren’t so scared of him anymore. Same goes for KG and Pierce.. they aren’t showing the same intensity they showed in the beginning of this season. Granted, they’ve both been injured so it’s somewhat understandable for their game to decline a bit, but these guys did a complete 180. Ray… only taking 3 shots in one game is no bueno. That certainly isn’t going to help him get back into rhythm by playoff time. Rondo… I might kind of be biased, but I feel like he was consistent for the longest out of the starters and I feel like his frustration with losing is kicking in (he’s said it over and over again.. he’s a very competitive guy) so now he feels like, “why should I play my hardest when we’re gonna lose because no one else is bringing their A-game?”

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    i was heavy on this bandwagon before the nate trade, but now i think it would just be change for change sake. i can see the benefits on the D end, letting marquis have the early chase on bron, jj, and wince carter to keep ray and pierce’s legs fresh. but on O, it would be a step backwards….nate is perfectly suited to be the spark for the 2nd unit.

    And I couldn’t disagree more with Forsberg’s main reasoning. “At a time when Boston is clearly struggling to generate open looks for Allen, maybe it makes more sense to get a slasher on the floor like Daniels, who is sure to remove some stagnancy from the first unit with his tireless movement.”

    If you look up jesus in the dictionary, it says ‘tireless slasher, makes freddy kruger look lazier than rasheed wallace’. his movement is way better and more efficient than marquis (honestly, anyone who has watched this year has to be disappointed with his O). ray not getting the ball is not his fault, and you can see he is clearly p*ssed that he is in the groove and no one makes the extra effort to feed him (3 shots against the bucks?!).

    @craig: dude, chill out and welcome to the internet. if you just want to be told what to think and not participate, buy a newspaper (before they all go out of business).

  • Jim MacIndoe

    I certainly do not agree with everything Zach writes and I really do not care if there is a spelling or grammar mistake.What I do care about is having passion for the Green! I think we are all frustrated that our team is not doing better. Maybe whining might be a better word for some of our comments.
    I was not a big Eddie House fan and I know Zach was one . I still believe the team made the correct move in getting Nate Robinson. Although I loved it when Eddie hit the three ball he really could not do much else. If you thought we gave up too much to get him my question is this. Why were they not playing? There must have been something to that .I did not see any of those three guys sticking with the team next year. The way Paul Pierce is playing these days the best thing he could do for the team next year is retire, One more thing. I hope some of the players and coaches read these comments.Our grammar and spelling may be weak but the passion for the Celtics is not.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    @Jim. Love the passion. I suggest CelticsHub steals your last sentence as the new official motto:

    “Our grammar and spelling may be weak but the passion for the Celtics is not”

    Friday aftenoon it is. A good weekend to all :)

  • DRJ1

    This may be obvious, but Zach is an excellent writer. Everybody has typos… the only reason you don’t see them everywhere is that the major news outlets all have major proofreading staffs. Blogs do not.

  • Scott

    “… if u wanna bench someone bench mr 34″

    DO THIS. I first read this headline of this article and thought to myself, a rondo-ray-daniels-garnett-perkins lineup sounded great. I really dont think its Ray that needs time off. Its DEFINITELY Paul. he hasnt looked the same all year, and if anybody needs a rest, its him. He’ll take a couple games off the bench if it will help the team. If he wont we have more than just a simple offensive slump on our hands. he’s the captain yes, but that means he takes the most sacrifices to make his team better. Bench Paul, start daniels, and play pp 25-30 mins a game TOPS. DO THIS.

  • Scott

    @craig

    Shut up dude.. this is a blog, not grammar class. sheesh

  • I love Green

    Craig is dissin my dude Zach. Get the fuck off this board if your gonna care about little grammar things. Fuck you craig you piss me off.

  • Herb

    Personally, I don’t think the Eddie House-for-Nate Robinson trade was a bad one; in fact, I think it was quite the opposite. Eddie House will always be a Celtic in my mind, no matter what, and one could make the argument that he was a key component to the Celtics winning the title in ’07-’08. He’s a phenomenal “energy guy”- tracking loose balls, getting the team fired up, never complaining about his minutes or touches; HOWEVER, when your spark off the bench really only does one thing well on the court (shoot 3′s), and he stops doing it well, it impedes his ability to energize the rest of the team. Robinson has his flaws, to be sure, but he also plays his heart out, and recently, he’s been making the shots that Eddie used to make. The purpose of a trade is to upgrade your roster, and in terms of quickness, defensive ability, intensity, and an ability to drive the lane (not quite “willingness,” but he’ll become more so as he gets comfortable) Robinson is exactly that. I’m happy with the trade- I wish Doc would be more creative with his lineups, but if his players aren’t complaining (which they never do, because they love him- a sure sign of a great coach), then I’m not either.

    As for Daniels starting, I agree that the C’s are stuck between a rock and a hard place- if it works, then the offense has to retool its sets to accomodate Quisy, who’s a different breed of ballplayer), and such a move at this point in the season might be ill-advised. But, if it doesn’t work, then we’re right back where we started. Even so, this offense clearly needs a change of pace- obviously what we have now isn’t producing the desired results, so why not try it? If it doesn’t work, we’re no worse off, and if it does, it gives opposing teams a new wrinkle to contend with. I say Daniels should get a trial run of starting in place of Ray, NOT Pierce. The C’s get their emotion from KG, but they play their best when PP is at his. And at this stage in his career, Pierce needs a little more time (i.e., starting) to build a rhythm. If I had to bet which of the two would be more effective off the bench more quickly, I’d put everything on Jesus.

    Lastly (I know, it’s long-winded), Doc to me is beyond reproach. It’s rare to find a coach who puts such a premium on defense, and it’s even more so to find a coach whose players are 100% in lockstep behind him. These guys love Doc, and I do too- in an age where coaches like Stan Van Gundy are dead-set on making every win about themselves and every loss about someone else, be it officiating, the other team being “dirty,” or even his own players (we’ve all seen SVG and, hell, even Phil Jackson throw his own guys under the bus before), Doc is a refreshing change of pace. He’s a class act and a good man/coach, and I wouldn’t want anybody else coaching my Celtics.

  • rondoislove

    Truthfully, though. I know that on the floor, Nate has more “weapons” than Eddie does, but I think what I miss from Eddie is the heart and energy he had.

    I just don’t see Nate doing this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrz3LBc1nRI

  • Jim MacIndoe

    Herb,
    I like your comments on the Nate/Eddie house trade. I agree with them . I really think that House played his heart out for the Celtics and I will always respect him for that. But give me Nate. The guy can do more then one thing. The team has too many weak areas to carry a one skill player.
    Back to grammar. Zach is a damn good writer and I thank him for keeping our interest in the team going. Lets layoff people for grammar and spelling. We are here because we love the team. Maybe I will see Zach say some good things about Nate after tonights game. Wow did I enjoy watching this one!!!

  • trav

    ive been saying this for ages, but i think it is risky yo try it now, at least in the eyes of fans and the media. They’ve been really hurt by the fact that daniels missed so much time…

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