Boston Celtics: Making a Case for Mickael Pietrus as a Starter

Frances WhiteAnalyst IIMarch 3, 2012

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 13:  Mickael Pietrus #28 of the Boston Celtics celebrates his three point basket in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls on January 13, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 88-79. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Prior to the All-Star break, Mickaël Pietrus was content to launch three-point bombs. This made it look like he was trying to be a poor man's Ray Allen, though he was shooting it at a 50 percent clip prior to joining the team.

It seemed like time and time again, he was unable or reluctant to drive to the hoop.

Fast-forward to today and Pietrus has looked like an entirely different player. He is doing more than shooting threes and seems to have fully recovered from the offseason procedure that he had done on his knee.

Pietrus got his first start of the season against New Jersey Friday night and quickly gave the old men in green and Rondo a sleeker, faster option at the 2-guard spot.This did two things: increase the overall speed of the offense and actually show the potential of having more than one athletic option with Rondo at the point.

This begs the question of whether or not Ray Allen should be traded or have him as part of the second unit. I think Ray coming of the bench gives the Celtics a more viable shooting threat and may help them increase leads.

MP does not lack for confidence; he is athletic, plays excellent perimeter defense and can actually stay in front of his man. He can also hit the occasional three to help stretch the defense. It is fair to say that defense and Ray Allen have never been mentioned in the same breath. 

Rumors abound about the Celtics getting rid of Rondo, but you see once you surround him with the right type of player, the team excels. This was quite evident in how the team responded with Mickaël in the lineup and gave fans a glimpse of what could be.

Pietrus' presence in the starting lineup allows the Celtics offense to flow and the ball doesn't get stuck—something that happens quite often because Rondo will pound the ball at the top of the key as Ray runs around screen after screen trying to get open. This causes the offense to bog down and everyone stands around hoping he does get open.

Boston can no longer afford to operate like that, and "Air France" gives them a more viable option. This is not to say that the Celtics should trade Ray, but if they chose not to, it may behoove them to relieve him of his starting duties. Of course, he would be in the game in "crunch time."

Doc Rivers has to be drooling at the possibilities of his team running unfettered and unburdened by a lead-footed veteran who, athletically, is on the decline.