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Does Anyone Miss TA Getting Minutes?

 

This is a school of thought that came up on the podcast Sunday night with Zach and Paul Flannery. Michael Finley has essentially replaced TA in the 10 man rotation since his arrival, leaving Tony limited to garbage time minutes. This move in itself, I don’t have any kind of problem with. Finley has looked better than worse in the majority of his games in Green, and has given the 2nd unit another shooter on the floor in place of TA.

This has been crucial, in my opinion, in keeping Paul Pierce and Ray Allen’s minutes down this month. With Finley stretching the floor as a shooter, there is less of a need for those guys to anchor the bench, giving Doc an excuse to give them more rest, which right now is a very good thing.

Let’s get back to TA though. I don’t see him earning back Finley’s minutes, since well, he can’t shoot and Finley can. That’s not going to change. However, there is one guy’s minutes that I wonder if Allen will get a crack at getting some of, especially if he doesn’t step it up soon, and those are Marquis Daniels.

Now, before we go any further, calm down a little bit. I’m not saying for Doc to bench Quisy. The guy is a good player, and was a great value signing by Danny Ainge this offseason for 1.9 million. However, Daniels has really struggled this month. Take a look at his numbers per game in March thus far.

20 minutes, 4.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 40% FG, 60% FT

Those are pretty dismal. Doc even called out Marquis last week directly, before the Detroit game, noting he has to play better and be aggressive. He did well that night, but has consistently up and down since. A closer look at this situation, after the jump

Let’s compare those recent Quisy numbers to TA’s. We all know the pros and cons with the guy. Great defender and athletic on the one hand. Makes stupid plays, can’t shoot from the outside and turns the ball over too much on the other hand.

It’s safe to say Tony has been a pleasant surprise this year on a whole. No one was expecting much out of the guy, given his recent history. Let’s look at his season numbers per game.

17 minutes, 5.9 pts, 2.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 1.1 steals, 49% FG, 60% FT

Those are virtually the same as Marquis’ season numbers with a few clear differences. Daniels averages less turnovers (1.0) while also getting fewer rebounds (2.1). Everything else is within a couple tenths of a point, with Daniels averaging 4 more minutes per game.They are also much better overall than Quisy’s March numbers.

So is Tony Allen better than Marquis Daniels? I’m not saying that. However, Daniels has been consistently inconsistent right now. So what would I like to see? I wouldn’t mind TA getting a few of Daniels minutes in these games, especially if Quisy is looking passive early on in his outing.It’s a criticism that Doc has laid upon him recently.

TA is generally been the opposite of passive. He is also a great defender, better than Quisy for sure. With the playoffs just 12 games away, does it make sense for him to rot entirely on the bench, especially with some offensive powerhouse coming into town for the next 2 weeks? I’m not so sure. I’d like to keep TA a little run at least, maybe 5-10 minutes a game, since chances are, his services will be of use, especially on the defensive end, come playoff time.

So I ask you Celtics fans, what do we make of TA? Am I out of line for asking to bring the frustrating Allen back into the fold? And what about Quisy? Is this just a bad stretch of games for him, or is there a bigger problem there. He clearly has had to adjust to a lot of new personnel and roles within the last month. Will he be able to get comfortable in time for the postseason?

  • steve

    Neither player shoots from the outside but Quisy can slash, create and finish. Things that TA often struggles with. If TA isn’t at the rim there’s no telling what’s going to happen when he shoots. If Quisy would be as aggressive as TA and take it to the rim and try to post up I would be much happier. Having said all that I would like to see TA get a run somewhere along the line. I would like to say you never know when you might need his shut down defense, but anyone can foul a three point shooter.

  • Jason

    Love Finley over TA in so many ways. An actual shooter that other teams HAVE to respect. And it’s not just “respect” like they do Sheed. Finley will actually drain shots over and over.

    Also, for all of Finley’s supposed faults, he a) is big and tall, b) knows the schemes, particularly defensively, c) tries really hard on D, d) doesn’t make bone-headed plays / play out of control / turn it over / scare the crap out of me when he has the ball.

    Finley was a great pick-up. Sheed stretches the floor, but doesn’t make teams pay. BBD doesn’t spread the floor nor does Daniels (Btw, what has MD really done at all this season? What a disappointment!). Finley over TA does so much simply for the fact that Finley can hit a 3 and TA can’t hit anything but a lay-up. It’s that big of a difference. I’ll be honest with you, I love high percentage 3pt shooters and though I’m not a Scal proponent, I wouldn’t mind if he replaced either Sheed or BBD. Scal in the corner, Sheed in the post, Finley on the wing. Nate and MD would have all kinds of space to be creative, get to the rim, the line or kick to an open 3 (Scal or Finley) who can both knock down in-rhythm 3s with great regularity. Drive, foul, 2 points. Drive, kick, splash. Rinse and repeat. Better than Sheed jacking 3s or BBD getting blocked 5 times, right?

    I’m not saying this line-up would be fantastic, just I would love to at least see it given a chance because it just might have the potential to create a lot of points.

  • Perry

    Brian you read my mind. I cannot believe after all these years that some us are lamenting TA’s lack of minutes.

    Let me toggle back to when Ray was mired in his funk on both ends of the floor. The lower points of course surfaced during the trade rumors, and at that time I floated the concept of starting TA; thus utilizing Ray off the bench. Well, we’re over that hurdle now, but there’s no denying TA has played solid this season.

    You make a good argument. Many of us would make the same case for Shelden to get minutes from Sheed or Davis. But the numbers don’t back that argument up.

    True, Shelden brings more energy to the floor than Sheed. True, TA’s numbers are analogous to Quis. However, Quis and Sheed/Davis have the more measured game. So both TA and Shelden remain insurance policies.

    Quis is a solid understudy. He’s money from 10 – 12 feet, certainly a better ball handler than TA, and is a better fit guarding V. Carter, Lebron, and even JJ in the post season. I thought he was a little more intense ala Posey, but nevertheless signing him was a tremendous value.

    I agree with you. With Finley shooting lights out I just don’t see where TA gets the minutes. Last night was a perfect example. Rondo was having problems handling D. Wil’s bull moves. Nate is too small. You need a bigger, stronger guy to slow him down. So why not give TA the assignment for 5 minutes and see what he can do?

    But Doc is so stringent with his rotation, and hasn’t shown the capacity or willingness to find different combinations as the game unfolds. He has this cookie cutter approach in his substitution patterns. So be it. He does have more options than ever before, and that’s a good thing.

  • http://www.livefromapt.blogspot.com w2

    Tony is a Celtic (although this may be his swansong). Neither Mike or Quisy are Celtics. So the guy has a special place in my heart. I thought we missed TA’s defensive energy in the Cleveland game a ton.

    Ultimately, TA is much less likely to turn the ball over on the bench so my guess is that is where he stays.

  • Arvin

    I miss TA’s energy and his aggressiveness to get to the rim, but I do not miss his maddening inconsistencies that can’t be measured by stats alone. On one end he makes a spectacular block or steal drives the length of the floor and throws away a pass into row 3 on a 3-2 break. Stats chaulk up a steal and turnover, we chaulk up a momentum changing play gone down the toilet!

  • Perry

    @w2: You’re right. Could have used him in that Cleveland game.

  • Conall Mac Michael

    Great observations by everyone else so I’m not going to contribute anything beyond the fact that I really like TA, even when he does stupid things, I always felt he added something to the team. It did kind of annoy me the way a lot of people (including people here) treated him in the past, almost as if he was the simple kid you prayed didn’t end up on your team. The guy is an elite athlete who can be an important part of this team. If he can get it into his head that he’s not an offensive juggernaut I’d be more than happy to keep him around.

  • Chris

    This is an easy one: Don’t cut Quisy’s minutes, he needs all the run he can get. Give TA a bunch of minutes during the last week of the season in place of Paul and Ray, in order to keep him sharp for any possible playoff cameos. Same goes for Scal and I imagine that’s Doc’s plan.

  • DRJ1

    TA is pretty unique on this team. He’s the most energetic, and arguably the best defender in the group. And he has this mad gut passion, best exhibited that time early in his return, after a dunk — they’re using that clip in the Cs’ promos now.

    Quis seems a little removed. Laid back. Now that his performance has started to match his demeanor, it’s reasonable to question his status going forward.

    I would favor continuing with Quis, but giving TA significant PT as well to keep him reasonably sharp. Then see what happens in the first 1-2 games of the playoffs. If Quis does not change his ways and clearly step up for the playoffs — there will be no time to wait. Doc will have to change horses immediately, and TA should be there, waiting.

  • B Fish

    I say “no” to TA getting Daniels minutes. As you said, TA can’t shoot and makes consistent mistakes. Agreed, Daniels is not playing well as of late, but I believe that if given the minutes, he will get more comfortable in his role on the team and be the player he was expected to be come playoff time

  • Berkcelt

    Not out of line at all. I’d like to see TA instead of Daniels myself. I guess I don’t get the fascination with Marquis. He seems like a soft player to me. I miss TA’s defense.

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  • Bert

    We could have used TA in the game against Cleveland for sure! In the Utah game as well. His defense and spunk are good ways for the Celtics to protect their leads in the second half (not that they had one in the Cavs game). I mean are we forgetting how much he attributed to the Celtics’ win over LA?

    As for “Quisy,” I just don’t see his role. He seems to just be there. He lacks effort and calls for more aggressiveness, and most of all he creates mismatches due to poor defense. Quis vs. Lebron? No way. TA can stick him, though.

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  • Rav

    To be honest, there is a pretty obvious reason for Quisy’s poor play. He took an LLE offer from Boston (when he could have got a longer contract for $4-5 million a year somewhere else), and accepted a reduced role, thinking he would win a championship.

    At our current state, I wouldn’t blame Marquis for thinking we won’t win the championship, and for his resultant poor play. In addition, he will not get much of a payday next year because he hasn’t had the PT to show any of his skills.

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  • Jay P

    @Rav

    All the more reason he should be playing even harder. If he’s worried about getting a deal next year, he should be working his ass off right now to show he can be a starter again next year.

    Whatever the reason he came here, he’s here, and unless he wants to be stuck in another 2-3million deal next year, he better pick it up and show teams he’s capable.

  • Josh Drown

    I would say the same about Shelden Williams. Take Baby’s minutes away! Sure, Baby grabs a lot of offensive rebounds … but half of those are his when he misses wide open lay-ups! Take a look at the Celtic’s record when Baby was out and Shelden was in … enough said!

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  • RICHHO214

    TA is a great defender. Quis is too but he is struggling right now. TA does a good job of taking the ball to the hoop and drawing fouls. Tony Allen is a solid ball player and deserves to get more minutes. We need him to have some confidence come playoff time. He’s an important piece in stopping the many star players in the conference.

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  • rondoislove
  • Bert

    @rondoislove

    wrong

  • Ray Leighton

    Just now catching up on the posts, so I’m not sure anyone will even read this. I like Finley in the second rotation for all of the reasons people have mentioned, but especially for keeping Ray Allen rested. The Celtics run a lot of plays for Ray, and with Finley in the second unit, they can keep running the same plays because they have a legitimate shooter at the 2.

    That said, I think TA should be getting more minutes, but not necessarily at Marquis’ expense. There was a poll of NBA coaches about a year ago in which TA was routinely ranked as one of the ten best defensive guards in the league. His steals per 48 minutes are always high. And the fact is that Ray Allen is easily the worst defender on the starting five. Ray works really hard on D and on a defensive club, being fifth of five is not so terrible. Also, if Ray is shooting well, then he can still “beat” the opposing team’s 2. But when Ray gets tired, when he has to take too many minutes, his shot falls short, and he doesn’t score as well, and he is just a step too slow against the top 2s — how many times this year has a 2 lit us up in the 4th quarter? Carter, Johnson, Richardson etc. So I’d like to see Doc keep his second rotation in place, but I’d like to see TA get a few extra minutes each game as part of the first unit to spell Paul or Ray — if we have a 10-point lead on Orlando at halftime, I want to see TA inside Vince Carter’s pocket for the first five minutes of the second half, just wearing him down, interrupting the flow of their offence, and above all, giving Ray some extra rest.

    Everyone always talks about going with a shorter rotation during the playoffs, but with our age, I think that we should be using our depth as much as possible, and going with a larger rotation.

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  • Paolo

    After doing an ESPN Stat check of TA and Daniels’ numbers, I was actually quite surprised.

    TA gets almost 4 minutes less of playing time than Daniels and here are the stats where they are almost at par with each other:
    -points (6ppg)
    -assists (1.3 and 1.5)
    -personal fouls (1.9) (for TA? seriously?)
    -fg% (50.5 for TA and 49.5 for Quis)
    -ft% (60.8% for TA and 61.5 for Quis)

    and here are the stats where Daniels gets a nod:
    -turnovers (we knew that was coming, 57 total to TA, 41 to Daniels)
    -and I dunno, that seems to be about it. maybe we’re putting too much blame on TA for the turnovers.

    and here are the stats where TA gets a nod:
    -blocks (14 total, compared to 6)
    -steals (49 to 26)
    -rebounding (115 to 84)
    -OFFENSIVE rebounding (41! to 23)
    (just nitpicking, but those 41 offensive rebounds are just 2 less than Ray has for the reason, 11 more than what PP has despite those two having the most minutes in the team, 4400 minutes between them and just around 760 for TA)
    -free throw attempts (we all think that Marquis is a better shooter, and he probably is, but they shoot at almost the same percentage. the difference-maker is that TA has attempted 102 free throws compared to just 52 for marquis. that’s aggresiveness right there.)

    I’m a very big Marquis fan, but TA just seems to get the better of him right now. Past the turnovers, it’s almost as if TA blows right by Marquis in most other categories, esp. if given more playing time. There’s too much upside for his downside. Besides, the trouble of having another ball-handler in the second unit has already been fixed with Nate so…why not?

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  • John R. S.

    Let’s just make sure he gets more minutes than that never-was Scalabrine. He’s worlds better than Scal, don’t you think?

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