Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The small lineup of Kevin Garnett at center worked for the Celtics...until Avery Bradley's injury.
Then, Ray Allen was forced back into the starting lineup—despite dealing with an ankle injury throughout the playoffs.
He clearly wasn't himself, as he shot poorly for the majority of the postseason, and couldn't keep up on defense due to being a step slow.
Only counting the 2012 NBA draft picks and the return of Bradley, the Celtics have potential for a small lineup that would be wonderful:
1- Rajon Rondo; 2- Bradley; 3- Paul Pierce; 4- Jared Sullinger; 5- Garnett
That lineup–with the substitution of unrestricted free agent Brandon Bass for Sullinger–served the Celtics very well. That is, until Bradley's injury in the East semis against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Bass is interested in re-signing, but will have higher salary demands. Also, six other teams are interested in him, and may pay more and offer a better shot at a title in a long-term commitment.
With Sullinger being inexperienced and Garnett and Pierce not getting any younger, it's unclear whether a similar lineup will hold up in 2012-13 if Bass is gone.
The Celtics should plan accordingly.