Boston Celtics Need to Reconfigure Their Lineup
Reconfiguring the Boston Celtics' Rotation
It's been a tough year. Between the frequent losses, lack of trades and underwhelming rotation players, Boston Celtics fans have had it pretty rough this season. The Cs are on yet another losing streak in classic 2013-14 fashion, dropping their last four games including losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings; Yeah, they're that bad.
First-year head coach Brad Stevens looked like a contender for Coach of the Year in the beginning of the season, but has now dropped out of contention completely. His team once bolstered a 12-14 record, but since then has lost 24 of its last 31 games. His team once was the fourth seed in the East, but now sits comfortably with the fourth-worst mark in the conference. The immediate future looks grim for the Celtics, but if there's one way Stevens can turn the team's season around -- or improve it at all for that matter -- it's by managing minutes correctly to maximize production from his personnel.
The most important part of a team is the guys that make it up, and it's up to Stevens to make sure the groups he puts on the court are the best possible combinations. While there needs to be some room for flexibility to adjust based on Boston's opponents on any given night, there are certain generic lineups that Stevens should be sticking to more often than not.
Note: The proceeding lineups are barring any major injuries
Depth Chart: Rajon Rondo (first-string), Phil Pressey (second-string)
This one is pretty obvious: Rajon Rondo is the clear-cut starter at point guard for the Cs. The 28-year-old floor general is one of the best in the NBA, albeit he is still working himself back to full strength after an ACL tear last season. Phil Pressey has done a solid job manning down the point guard slot when called upon, but his size is a curse that will likely relegate him to a backup role for the majority of his career.
Depth Chart: Avery Bradley (first-string), Jerryd Bayless (second-string), Chris Johnson (third-string)
Avery Bradley isn't a starting-caliber wing, but this season, the Celtics don't have any better options at the two. Bradley is undersized and his jumper is shaky, but his defense is smothering and his basketball IQ is above average. Jerryd Bayless is a solid scoring option off the pine who has shown flashes of high-level distributing abilities, but isn't a reliable option on either end of the floor. Chris Johnson was picked up by Boston last month thanks to injuries plaguing the Celtics' backcourt. He has a good motor and a knack for knocking down the three, but lacks offensive diversity. Right now, Bradley is as good as it gets.
Depth Chart: Jeff Green (first-string), Gerald Wallace (second-string)
Jeff Green is a capable -- and Boston's most qualified -- starting forward, despite his horrendous inconsistencies. While Gerald Wallace is growing on me, I recognize that he has no business in the starting lineup. With Avery Bradley nursing his ankle injury, Brad Stevens decided to insert "Crash" into the first unit. In those 11 games, the Celtics are just 3-8. Wallace is a good player, but his inability to shoot is a detriment to the floor spacing that the starting five relies so heavily on.
Depth Chart: Jared Sullinger (first-string), Brandon Bass (second-string), Kris Humphries (third-string)
Jared Sullinger needs to be switched back to power forward as soon as possible, there's nothing else to it. Logging the majority of his minutes at center has taken a costly toll on his body. The should-be forward has been playing with an assortment of nagging injuries over the past four months despite logging just 27.3 minutes a night. Unfortunately, switching him back comes with its repercussions: Brandon Bass -- who has been exceptional this season -- will be sent back to the bench. While it is a bit unfair to Bass, it is a necessary consequence to ensure the long-term health of Sullinger, one of the Celtics' most promising prospects.
Depth Chart: Vitor Faverani (first-string), Kelly Olynyk (second-string), Joel Anthony (third-string)
Twelve points, 18 rebounds and six blocks. That was Vitor Faverani's stat line in his NBA debut. As a starter for Boston, Faverani averaged 6.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in just 21.8 minutes a night. He set hard screens, spaced the floor and was a decent post player. Where did it all go wrong? Faverani has all but completely fallen out of the Celtics' lineup and hasn't played a game since the Cs' 26-point loss to the New York Knicks on Jan. 28. Out of all of Boston's frontcourt players (aside from Sullinger), Faverani is the most well-rounded. His size and athleticism offer tremendous upside, and he could be a productive starter in the near future. Kelly Olynyk isn't yet strong enough to bang around with the league's giants, but eventually may bulk up. Joel Anthony is ... well he's Joel Anthony. For now, Faverani is the Celtics' best bet.