It’s always nice when a restaurant has varied Starters; not so much when fielding a competitive basketball team.
We know for a fact that there will be five Celtics on the court tomorrow at 7pm. We also know that Jared Sullinger won’t be one of them.
And that’s about all we know.
For reasons unknown, Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens won’t name tomorrow’s starters. Our very own Brian Robb tried to coax it out of him this morning to no avail:
“I’ve got an idea but I am gonna sleep on it and see. We’re gonna play a lot of different guys, there’s gonna be a lot of opportunities for everybody over this stretch in November regardless of how much they play tomorrow.”
Exactly right. So why no word on who’s starting tomorrow? Stevens has already admitted that tomorrow’s starters are going to be indicative of exactly nothing, so why play coy? This is just speculation but I assume the secrecy is for one of two reasons. He either has yet to make up his mind or he’s afraid of how the non-starters will react.
If it’s the latter, I’m assuming the non-starters make up either one or both of Gerald Wallace and/or Brandon Bass. If it’s the former, let’s help him out by going through some of the options for tomorrow and beyond.
The All Bigs Line-Up
Avery Bradley (PG), Jeff Green (SG), Gerald Wallace (SF), Brandon Bass (PF), Vitor Faverani (C)
In today’s NBA, pigeonholing players into specific positions serves little purpose. Many people believe it’s wise to play your best five players and let them naturally gravitate toward roles. In the case of this line-up, I’m just not convinced these are the Celtics’ five best players.
Regardless, this iteration gives the Celtics a SF/PF assuming the role of shooting guard and a, SG quarter-backing the offense. The line-up is intriguing in the way that it’s one of the more plausible starting units focused towards size while simultaneously being somewhat weak on the glass.
The Place Holders
Jordan Crawford (PG), Avery Bradley (SG), Jeff Green (SF), Brandon Bass (SF), Vitor Faverani (C)
At this point, I’m fairly certain Avery Bradley and Jeff Green are entrenched as starters for the Celtics. Taking this a step further, we can also safely assume that Rajon Rondo will resume his point guard duties when medically cleared to do so. In this case, Stevens may opt to keep Bradley in his shooting guard role and start Jordan Crawford at the point. I have learned through years of observation that relying on Crawford to do anything other than jack a long two with 14 or more seconds on the shot-clock is a bad move. Which is precisely why I’m having a hard time actually typing this: I’m onboard with this line-up. No one argues that Crawford has the ability to score, but he’s also shown he’s adept at finding baseline cutters and delivering smarts passes in pick-and-roll.
The other place holder in this scenario is Faverani. The Celtics’ center would be starting over Jared Sullinger during his one game suspension. While he is undersized, Sullinger has the heft to play with the big boys.
Avery Bradley (PG), Jeff Green (SG), Gerald Wallace (SF), Brandon Bass (PF), Kris Humphries (C)
If Stevens starts this line-up, we know for a fact he’s afraid of his players. Whether it’s the threat of mutiny or hurt feelings, he’s definitely afraid of something.
Based on name recognition alone it’s not the worst line-up I’ve ever seen, but then again I’ve never seen it.
An Eye Toward Development
Phil Pressey (PG), Avery Bradley (SG), Jeff Green (SF), Kelly Olynyk (PF), Jared Sullinger (C)
Aside from Rondo, Phil Pressey is the only other actual point guard on the Celtics’ roster. Pressey showed in both Summer League and the Preseason that he has the raw ability to play in this league, albeit against much weaker competition. The rest of the line-up are likely to be around for the Celtics rebuild and could use the experience and court-time together. This line-up won’t start tomorrow but I’d keep an eye-out for the possibility down the road provided that Pressey and Kelly Olynyk play well off the bench.
Jordan Crawford (PG), Courtney Lee (SG), Gerald Wallace (SF), Brandon Bass (PF), Kris Humphries (C)
I present to you, in no particularly order, the five Celtics Danny Ainge would love to trade before season’s end. I would love to see Stevens roll out this starting line-up a few times before the trade deadline to see if Ainge can get any GM to bite. This is all provided that there are other reasons why Green, Bradley, and Rondo are not starting.
There are other options but ultimately it won’t make a big difference who starts tomorrow or for the rest of the season. The Celtics are going to feel the growing pains of a rebuilding team. And it all starts tomorrow.