Breaking Down the Roles of the Boston Celtics Bench
The Boston Celtics' bench will make or break the 2012-13 season. Each role player must excel at his job in order for the team to truly be successful.
Rajon Rondo can score, defend, assist and rebound. However, most players aren't that well-rounded. For example, Avery Bradley is an amazing perimeter defender, but his offense is just good. Jason Terry excels when coming off the bench, but he probably couldn't put up the same numbers if he was a starter.
Each player on the Boston Celtics bench has a specific role. General manager Danny Ainge handpicked them for a reason. Understanding these players and their roles will give fans a better understanding of why the Celtics are better than they were last year.
The new-look Celtics have a handful of decent scorers coming off the bench. One of the team's biggest shortcomings last season was the lack of offense in the second unit, and that problem has been fixed.
Jason Terry is the offensive leader of the bench. The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year thrives at coming off the bench and making a significant impact each night. Plus, Terry puts up serious numbers. In fact, he's averaged at least 15 points per game for the last seven seasons in Dallas. Because Terry is able to create his own shot, he gives Rajon Rondo a lot more opportunities to put points on the board.
Jeff Green is also returning to the Celtics lineup this season. The young power forward was a key piece to the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging about 16 points per game as a starter. He has yet to put up those same numbers in Boston, but this will be the year.
While offense is generally more exciting, defense still wins games. The C's have a few key defensive players who need to stay healthy and contribute this season.
Avery Bradley is arguably the best defensive player in Boston. The Celtics have found ways to maximize his talents, including using him in pick-and-roll and perimeter defense. Bradley is a tough defender who seems to only be getting better.
Bradley also excels at perimeter defense. Doc Rivers matches him up with some of the league's best players, including Dwyane Wade. The budding star can hold his own and shut down his opponent on offense.
Although he'll likely return to his starting position, he can still be considered a bench player for now.
The Celtics were a terrible rebounding team last year. The team only grabbed a pitiful 38.8 rebounds per game. General manager Danny Ainge made a point to address the weakness during the offseason, and he did a decent job.
Rookie Jared Sullinger is one of the team's best rebounders. His size and strength naturally put him in a position to grab boards. However, his effectiveness is what makes him a great rebounder. Sullinger excels on the offensive side of the ball, which will create more second-chance opportunities for the C's to score.
Chris Wilcox is another good rebounder from the bench. Before heart surgery ended his season, Wilcox averaged six rebounds per game in February. That's especially impressive considering he only played 21 minutes per game.
Although the Celtics still need to improve their rebounding, they are much better than they were last season.
Aside from Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are the two most valuable players on the Celtics. However, both veterans are nearing the ends of their careers, and their bodies can't keep up like they used to.
This season Doc Rivers is going to rest Pierce and Garnett during the regular season. He can do that because the second unit is now capable of keeping up the pace initially set by the starting five.
Jeff Green is an excellent backup for Pierce, especially because he's able to defend premier players in the league. Prior to this season, Pierce was usually always matched up against LeBron James, which can be tiring. Now, Green will be able to take some of the pressure off of the veteran.
Garnett's backups are a little more complicated. On the depth chart, Jason Collins and Fab Melo are next in line. Chris Wilcox will also fill in at the center position when needed. While they may not be the Big Ticket, they can still post up and score in the paint.