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The (Real) Boston Bench Mob

Again, it is the preseason.  We cannot take anything as gospel but that does not mean that what we see is not noteworthy.

Shaquille O’Neal may have been the biggest addition to the Celtic bench this offseason but last night Celtic fans were shown just how much better this bench is from a season ago.  Delonte West, Glen Davis, and Nate Robinson are an extremely versatile and effective trio.

This type of versatility was on display prominently last night with the West/Davis pick and roll.  Traditionally, Nate Robinson would run point, West would run off screens, and Davis would clean the glass.  However, last night West and Robinson found themselves in a role reversal for a good portion of their shared court time.  West played the role of distributor while Robinson hung around the arc.  Below is an example of the effectiveness of the dribble-drive offense was with the ball in West’s hands:

As you can see, the Nets had to respect West’s ability to get to the rim. With this, he was able to suck in the defense while Robinson remained wide open in the corner for an easy three.

This is basic drive, draw, and kick basketball most kids learn in pick-up games but the Celtics have perfected it over the last few years.

The Boston bench also found success running the NBA’s staple play- the pick and roll:

This easy dunk for Davis was made possible by his ability to pop as well.  West and Davis ran this same play twice before only with Baby popping out for the jumper.  Due to Davis’ willingness to take that shot, the third pick and roll attempt provided Davis with an easy dunk.

Delonte West may prove to be the missing link to Boston’s bench.  Last year, Ray Allen logged a ton a minutes with the bench in order to provide a versatile yet stable force.  West fills that void on the bench with his ability to shoot, defend, and distribute.

Here are some other reasons why Delonte West was such a good pick up:

Here, West goes for the steal, recovers to contest the shot, follows the ball and ends up snagging the rebound.  Then on the other end of the court, he pulls a Rondo and grabs the offensive board.  After securing the rebound he goes into attack mode and gets a layup before the Nets defense can setup.  The bottom line is that Delonte West does not give up on plays.

Here is another:

Delonte West gets caught in a switch with Brook Lopez and successfully boxes him out.  Most guards would feign an attempt to box out a seven-footer.  West earns himself a congratulatory buttslap for his troubles and as DeadSpin pointed out yesterday, those can get out of hand.  In this case, I am happy to see all concerned parties are okay with it.

And yet another:

Here Glen Davis gets a great block and West chases down the rebound from the perimeter.

Just so Nate Robinson does not feel left out, here he is proving he is not just a shooter:

Preseason is preseason, but if the Celtics can get this type of production from their bench in the regular season they should be in great shape to contend for the title.  It is pretty clear that this team is absolutely gelling right now.

  • Chris

    Trying to keep it in perspective, but Baby looks like he can anchor that second unit, be a versatile scorer and, maybe most importantly, get to the line consistently.

    Nate, Delonte, Baby with Quis/Ray/PP at the 3 looks like the best 2nd unit in the League to me. But who plays the 5? Shaq or JO? The way this unit looks, I think JO is the better fit.

  • I haven’t seen Boston’s bench play this well together in a long time…Looks like D.West is the key piece the bench was missing (not James Posey).

    Although here’s a good question. Seeing how Deltone West has been playing this preseason…who would you rather have RIGHT NOW – Delonte West or James Posey?

  • My vote is for Delonte.

  • w2

    DWest is amazing. The guy has so much heart. As much as he has made questionable descisions off the court, he is such a “right way” player. Fundamentals and energy.

    I wonder who will be the odd post player out in close games.
    Shaq? Perk? Baby? or JO? This is where you could see some friction.

    And can we cut Von Wafer already?

  • Perry

    Truth be told the Celts were cutting into the paint at will because the Nets’ guards play like human turnstiles. But the Heat and Lakers have the personnel to play big, and at times when Rondo plays tentative, or has problems knocking down that elbow jumper, his size becomes a liability. This is where Delonte is so valuable. The evidence proves he’s making good decisions with the ball playing the point and can stick it from the perimeter if teams slack off him. Teams have to respect that, which was not the case when TA was on the floor. So yes, Nate can work can his magic off the ball and Quis and Baby will find more open space, but so can Ray and PP since opposing teams won’t dare playing 5 on 4 in crunch time.

  • MK


    I couldn’t agree more. It’s scary to think that we could possibly bench Rondo in favor of DWest late in close games. The more I watch of him this preseason, that is exactly what I would do.

    That would definitely prevent the 5 on 4 approach that killed us in the Finals.

  • NHBluesMan

    i’d like to see how this second unit plays against teams like Orlando, Miami, and LA, but with how they’re gelling and the intensity that i know they can bring i’m not worried about any leads being lost when the 2nd unit is on the floor.

    I was skeptical about D.West at first, but thank goodness Danny knows better than i do when it comes to team signings

  • JP

    West has been playing great, however he’ll miss some time in the beginning of the season, hopefully he can fit right in when he comes back, although it would be great to have him for the opener against the Heat.

  • josh


  • willybeamin

    against their 2nd unit or their starters? Because I think it’s legitimate to think that this unit will outplay many teams starting 5 for stretches, even the good teams like ORL and chicago.

    maybe not the ultra-elite, i.e. the heat and Lakers, but I can see this 2nd unit play with or perhaps even better than (for stretches) just about any other starting 5 in this league.

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  • Rangatiratanga

    The last play Nate burned Farmar.I’m thinking the same thing guys,in close games in the 4th quarter,i have a feeling Doc will go with Delonte more than Rondo,which would would be a good move if that’s what it is.Unless of course if Rondo has improved his shooting.

  • Tom W

    i know it’s only preseason. i know we can’t take anything away from this without taking a grain of salt as well. i know sooo many things could go wrong. i know people could get injured. i know…