The Boston Celtics fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves last night 110-100 without the likes of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The game got out of hand gradually as the combinations of green jerseys on the floor became less and less focused over the course of 48 minutes. It quickly became a try out scrimmage in which Doc Rivers will have to choose wisely in picking the right guys to fill out the eighth and ninth spots in the rotation.
Most likely the first seven spots in the rotation will be guaranteed to Garnett, Pierce, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry. Despite the Celtics’ recent struggles during a crucial time of the year, this seven exists as a nice core and foundation that could surely still give any contender a scare. The question remains who will step up to help this rotation in terms of depth and contribution?
Chris Wilcox- Wilcox remains the most likely to earn playoff minutes based on his size and experience. His struggles with staying in rhythm continue to haunt him as well as his issues on the defensive end, but he finishes well and more often than not grabs his fair share of boards. Wilcox getting into proper rhythm is key if the Celtics want to have any form of depth behind Garnett, Green, and Bass.
Shavlik Randolph- Randolph is an interesting case and has played hard and contributed in smooth fashion in Rivers’ system. He will surely be in competition with Wilcox for minutes, but both of them getting a decent minute load come playoff time isn’t that far out of the question. Randolph’s energy on the glass has been a pleasant sight for sore eyes as well as the ability to get easy buckets inside. He even has some prowess when protecting the rim. He’s a great guy to have, and his role could very well increase.
Jordan Crawford- Crawford could shoot himself out of Rivers’ circle of trust, but I just don’t see that happening. With the ability to create something out of nothing and heat up quick, Crawford likely is the second guard off the bench after Terry. His mistakes will make you rip your hair out, but the pretty buckets he can string together somehow make it all worth it. He’s also shown some promise on the glass as well as in playmaking situations lately. He will get varying minutes come playoff time most likely, but he’s perfectly capable of stepping up on the big stage.
Terrence Williams- Williams is the wild card. Consistency remains a big issue, but he’s shown flashes of why the Celtics signed him for long-term. My guess is he remains the odd man out of the guard rotation, but with the Celtics’ small-ball lineups, he could very well get a handful of minutes come playoff time. His court vision makes up for being a liability on the defensive end of the floor but to what extent remains a question.
The Celtics could very well play 11 guys come playoff season, but that just isn’t Rivers’ style. The Eastern Conference is such a mess this year that a funky and lengthy rotation may be what works best for Rivers and the Celtics as a whole. The Celtics hang just above .500 and have pretty much entrenched themselves in the seventh seed. They won’t go down easy, but it’s hard to make a case for them right now.
Eric St. Cyr Covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. Follow Him on Twitter @ericJsaint