According to a report via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England, the Boston Celtics are remaining quiet about what their starting lineup will look like. While one may be under the impression that the rotation had been revealed to those inside of the Celtics' organization, it hasn't.
Despite what we may be inclined to believe, that puzzling fact doesn't seem to bother the players.
With an unparalleled level of trust in the coaching and decision-making of head coach Doc Rivers, the team appears to be patient. Power forward Brandon Bass, who is involved in a position battle with rookie Jared Sullinger, put it best.
"Man, I'm not going to get into all that stuff about starting, not starting," [Brandon] Bass told CSNNE.com. "That's Doc [Rivers]' call. What he says, that's how it goes."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has not revealed who will be in his starting lineup, but it appears as though it will be Bass on opening night next week at Miami.
Now, I will not be the fool who claims that Bass shouldn't start opening night when the Celtics play LeBron James and the Miami Heat. After all, James has shifted to playing the 4 against the Celtics in recent memory.
In that time, it has been Bass who matched up well against him.
Furthermore, to match a rookie in Sullinger with the best player in the world during his NBA debut would be torturous. It would also decrease the Celtics' chances of winning at this point in the young season.
Once the year gets underway, however, the Celtics would be insane to keep Sullinger out of the starting lineup.
Creating an Elite Second Unit
By moving Jared Sullinger to the starting lineup, the Celtics would strengthen their second unit. This, of course, comes by virtue of the pairing of Brandon Bass with sharpshooter Jason Terry and preseason standout Jeff Green.
In other words, the Celtics' second unit would be of a starting lineup's caliber.
In making such a move, the team assures itself that there will be virtually no drop-off in terms of production. The C's would then be able to rest their starters in an adequate manner when faced with the likes of the Miami Heat.
With no fear in trusting your second unit against the elite of the league, the aging legs of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will remain fresh throughout the duration of a game.
Come the fourth quarter, Coach Rivers can then pick and choose which players will play down the stretch. Such a luxury was not afforded to a thin Celtics team in 2011-12.
Why put all your eggs in one basket when you can hatch pure brilliance in multiple situations?
The Future is Now
Garnett may have signed on for three years, but the Celtics are rapidly approaching the time in which their most prominent stars are lost to retirement (via ESPN Boston). Between KG, Pierce and Terry, the window of opportunity is certainly closing.
For that reason, the C's must embrace their future.
Considering they couldn't possibly justify starting Green over Pierce at small forward, it's only right to utilize whatever youth is available. Fortunately, Sullinger is one of those players who is available.
Why refrain from starting him when Sullinger has posted preseason averages of 10.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 offensive boards on 56.1 percent shooting from the floor?
As for those wondering why those numbers are so impressive, allow us to progress.
In 2012, Rajon Rondo led all Celtics players with 1.8 offensive rebounds per game. Next in line were Garnett, who averaged 1.6, and Bass with 1.3.
This led to the Celtics ranking dead last in the NBA with just 7.7 offensive boards per game. The next worst was the Golden State Warriors with 9.7, a full 2.0 rebounds more.
As for those who claim that the Celtics simply do not value offensive rebounding, stop yourself before you speak. Rivers dispelled that rumor himself (via CSN New England).
"We always wanted to [crash the offensive glass]," Rivers said. "That's been one of the most misunderstood things about us. We've always told our bigs, 'If you're under the basket and we shoot, how about going to get it?'"
Fortunately for Rivers, Sullinger averaged 2.5 offensive rebounds per game during the preseason. He also had a career average of 3.3 in two years at Ohio State.
Although Bass is described as a player who is very similar to Sullinger, he truly shares few characteristics. Their height and build is similar, as well as their proficiency from mid-range.
Sullinger, however, is a much better rebounder and back-to-the-basket scorer. For the Celtics to maximize their roster in 2012-13, they must utilize those abilities to their fullest extent.
Jared Sullinger must start at power forward.
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