Post-game Reactions

It was just a notion Danny Ainge threw out after the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs last spring, but it makes some sense for Boston to move Paul Pierce to the sixth man role and start Mickael Pietrus.

There are a number of reasons why this might work but the prime one is that the Celtics desperately need to fire up their offense. It’s 14th in the league right now, its brief dalliance with the top-10 probably permanently a thing of the past. What’s more, moving Pierce opens up a number of other possibilities to make this team more efficient.

I’m not sold on this proposition but there’s a lot to recommend it.


Right now, the Celtics have one major scoring threat on the bench in Brandon Bass and he spends most of his time with the first unit, which renders the various bench combos anemic. Bringing Pierce off the bench would better spread out the offensive capability of this roster. That’s more important than usual this year because the condensed schedule requires Doc Rivers to go deeper into his rotation. He needs more from his bench and, already short on recovery time, his starters aren’t going to have the energy to bail out the bench every night, like they had to do last season.

A bench unit anchored by Pierce at the 3 and Bass at the 4 gives the Celtics two shot creators and finishers and, along with — to speculate — Keyon Dooling, E’Twaun Moore and Greg Stiemsma or Chris Wilcox, you’ve got a nice balance of shooters, inside players and ball handling ability.

That would give the Celtics a starting unit of Pietrus, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal. Pietrus can replicate Pierce’s defense and approximate his outside shooting in the halfcourt and he can better get up and down the floor, which gives Rondo another quick-moving option in transition.

That may not even go far enough.

The Celtics need to play faster. We’ve discussed this lately and so has Rivers.

Why not move O’Neal to the bench too and shift Wilcox to the starting lineup?

Then you’ve got a team that can really get out and run on the first unit: Rondo, Allen, Pietrus, Garnett and Wilcox.

And a team that can score and defend in the halfcourt on the second: Dooling, Moore, Pierce, Bass, O’Neal.

The defense, remember, has been bad (18th in the league), so there’s less risk of disrupting it with rotation moves than there was over the last few seasons. And additional reps on a fast-paced first unit might extract more from Wilcox, who can approximate a center’s rebounding percentage, assuming he reverts to his career norms.

Pierce, who has struggled with injuries and conditioning, could play his way into shape against lesser competition on opposition second-units. It should help his efficiency. Or at the least it could force the opposing coach to break up his rotations in ways he’d prefer not to.

And for Ainge, there’s an opportunity to test-drive a faster paced team before committing to the specifics of a rebuild this summer.

Boston could still close games with a traditional lineup, but my belief is that the Celtics aren’t maximizing production from this roster and a lack of creativity is one of the reasons. With the schedule constructed as it is, and with a 4-7 record, Rivers may never have a better opportunity to try something truly different.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • The time has come to try things like this. I'm on board. Maybe the c's won't be embarrassed for yet another nationally televised game.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Its like Doc is stuck in a timewarp sometimes… Unwilling to believe that JO has had his tires go flat, that Kevin is a step slower, that Pierce is a little more than "out of shape". Of the original Big 3, honestly only Ray Allen deserves the start so far this year, and I think that would be for the better. Running to start games:

      Rondo_Allen_Pietrus_Bass_Wilcox (if only for his physical strength over Stiemsma)

      With a stipulation that Pierce and Garnett sub into the game before Rondo and Ray are gassed with their stint on the floor. This should effectively allow the Celtics to continue to score, as I really like the abilities of the lineup listed ^ to defend and run. With KG doing more work with the second unit, he can help them to clamp down on defense and provide a real scoring threat. Same goes for Pierce… Put either one of these fella's against 2nd unit defenses and your going to find benefits. Too bad this is just a pipedream that Doc will most likely never use.

      • CelticsBIG3

        Granted that front line of Bass and Wilcox could have some trouble defensively, but their abilities to get down the floor quickly should be able to truncate those issues.

  • vik melb aus

    i also think its a good idea. pierce of the bench could win 6th man of the year and he can create offence with that second as well take some of the ball handling of dooling.

  • terry

    ok andi also believe it would be smarter and what do u have to lose right now

  • skeeds

    Interesting thought. Still, I think the way Doc's moving, playing more than 2-3 lineups might make more sense. Instead of having a designated 2nd unit, there are a handful of 5 man units that would work, based on combinations of 2-3 of the big 4. Any unit with KG and Rondo can work, so can any with Pierce and KG, playing the pick n roll.
    To his merit, Doc has been trying a bunch of things. If the lineup that sticks has Pierce come off the bench, so be it! Why not!

  • terry

    also the C's are getting runned off the court right now. points and rebounding is killing them. lack offence along with poor defence. you got a great brench,they r young. so lets move a few players . put a few seniors along with the young plays and who knows what will happen

  • TJC

    I was thinking the exact same thing tonight while I was making dinner. We all know if JGreen was playing he would have been the starter and PP would be 6th man. I know MP isnt exactly JG but his defense is good enough and he can shoot a triple. We need more out of Wilcox and sticking him with KG, RA & RR should help him confidence wise and get him playing like the MLE kinda player he is being paid to be. Also PP helping run point with Dooling should work in the 2nd unit. This has to happen ASAP the more I think about it!!!

    • Glad to know I'm not the only one thinking about the celtics while making dinner.

  • SteveB

    It's funny when you read these line ups on paper how good they look. I'm still amazed the team isn't playing better based on the players they have. I've posted before that Doc needs to get away from having five bench players in the game at once. By having Paul or Ray off the bench along with a Bass, Wilcox, O'Neal combo, you have proven players on the bench with the newer guys. It seems Dooling might come into his own soon and Moore can provide some spark at the SG. It would be interersting to hear the Captain's opinion on not starting.
    I have come to terms that this team might not go far this year but I just want to see the effort night in and night out. I feel the young guys bring the effort and would rather lose with them at times then watch KG and Pierce struggle so bad with father time.

  • IBleedGreen

    Celtics is 14th in offense??? That’s hard to believe. I thought they would be toward the bottom consider the way they have played so far.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Remember they started out the season scoring pretty well. Seemed to go bad when Pierce came back.

  • #18CelticGreen

    I like the idea of Paul Pierce a 6th man. I would also put J.O there too but instead of Wilcox coming up, put in Greg Stiemsma. Make J.O sit and take Subs for Wilcox and Greg.
    1st Linup
    Stiemsma (J.O subs)

    2nd Linup
    Wilcox (J.O subs)

    • CelticsBIG3

      I almost agree with all of it but playing JO at all, lol.

    • jj mm

      I like this, except that I feel like that the less you play JO, the worse he'll get condition wise. Old cars get rusty faster than younger ones. And given his current production, having him even less in shape sounds kinda unrealistic. But your lineups are cool, and since we can't get rid of JO, let's have him release some of the weight the new kids would get, by playing him in certain circumstances (experience is what the other guys have less, for example).

  • CG12

    PP looks fit, but I do wonder if he is continuing to struggle with injuries. He also missed all the pre-season and beginning of the regular season, so its no wonder his timing is off.

    With PP coming out of the gates slowly, J.O. looking run down and out of shape, and KG continuing on his slow, steady decline, the Cs need a shot of energy from somewhere. They are a ridiculously un-energetic team. That is one reason I don't mind continuing to see Avery Bradley get a shot. He is an elite-level athlete and has the ability to make plays, something you can say about Rondo and Bass, and that is about it.

    There was a lot of talk about how good J.O. looked in the preseason. He looks really heavy to me. As for KG – it is what it is. He is 13 and 7, jump-shooting KG, and we all just need to accept it.

  • Tos

    Okay, I'm going to admit I was wrong about Pietrus, I wasn't as crazy about the signing as the rest of you guys were.

    HOWEVER, I think you guys are starting to get a bit carried away here. I'm not even the biggest PP fan, but he needs time to get acquainted with the speed of the game, he is still our starter. Now, I could see the argument if it were Green being moved into the starting line-up, but Pietrus is better suited off the bench.

    What they need to do is run more plays for him and try to utilize his scoring, much like they do with Bass.

    Now, JO needs to be moved to the bench, no questions here, but it just doesn't seem likely based on Doc's refusal to trust the younger guys.

    • Tos

      Also, Wilcox in the starting lineup…. really? … Really? So, we can't reward the great playing of Stiemsma by placing him in the starting line-up, but hey lets reward this bum Wilcox and throw him in the starting line-up…. Really?

  • phreesh

    How will PP respond to a bench demotion? He's a proud warrior and I could foresee some sulking from the Captain were he to be on the bench.

  • rgp4

    One thing is sure, we need some bodies to run with Rondo. Its one on three a lot of times due to our lack of speed in the starting lineup. Ray is doing fine. He is amazing for his age. KG should move to 5. He has the moves in the block to do work. Paul needs to get his legs and he will be fine. I still believe this group has something left despite the slow start. Bass, Dooling and Pietrus are solid. We will get better.

  • rgp4

    You know, this group we have now brought back a sense of hard work and pride to the Celtics organization. I have an immense amount of loyalty towards this group for that. We have slowed down because of age, but I believe we still have the heart to contend. These guys need to dig in a little more and play the game with the heart and desire they always have.

  • I_Love_Green

    Wow this is actually, on paper, a great idea. However, going with two completely different lineups, starting and the bench, could screw up the chemistry. Thats a short term problem, which could be fixed long term, but would it be worth it?

    Its risky, but if things aren't looking better in 1-2 weeks then I think we try something like that.

  • ripsonics

    Heres the deal.. this team is off to the worst start it has ever had since the big three. Usually, this team beats people up in the beginning of the season because of its chemistry and how well it executes. I am worried that because that isnt happening, what the future looks like.

    Switching up the roster may be the spark that we need – I just don't think Doc will make a move like that. Paul has been the core of this group forever, and I am not confidence enough in Doc to make a change like that.

    HOWEVER.. I could not agree more with the JO switch. I was always confused as to why we offered him the entire MLE after a horrid playoff performance with Miami, and I think bringing wilcox to the starting unit will help his confidence, and will bring MUCH needed energy. The Defense may struggle, but our offense and energy is definitely the worst part about this team right now.

    Make a change DOC!

    Go C's

  • Good to know, the pierce was the sixth man.I appreciate him to play the game in successful manner.Please let me know, when will be the next match.

  • Wow what a Great Information.its very nice informative post about the know Paul Pierce: Sixth Man?.thanks for sharing.