It's a new year for the Boston Celtics. A very new year. Only four players remain from the Celtics' 2012 playoff roster, meaning that there is some obvious gelling that has to occur. There are things that could inhibit such gelling, though, so what are some foolish mistakes that Boston is making with its new roster?
Doc Rivers is one of the best coaches in the business, but he is not immune to mistakes. While he has done an incredible job leading this team over the years, there are certain things he has been doing thus far this season that could afford to change. Some of those things involve minutes given to players while others are just about pure X's and O's.
The C's have one of the most talent-laden ballclubs in the game, so anything short of an NBA championship would be a disappointment this year.
So, let's go over five things Rivers has been doing that have not been too conducive to such title hopes.
When Jason Terry came aboard and Ray Allen departed, there was plenty of optimism for multiple reasons.
First of all, Terry clearly has much more in the tank than Allen, as he has always been a durable player, while Allen endured nagging ankle problems last season that he says are still persisting.
Second of all, we expected to no longer see Rajon Rondo dribbling the air out of the ball at the top of the key while Ray ran through a million screens to get himself open for a jumper.
Well, we are still seeing the latter. Perhaps not as much as we saw it with Allen, but we're still seeing it far too often.
Terry isn't a guy who needs picks to get free. He is perfectly capable of creating his own shot, as he consistently demonstrated such ability in his years with the Dallas Mavericks. He can put the ball on the floor and score off the dribble, something Allen hasn't been able to regularly do in quite a while. That's why it's perplexing that Doc is putting this type of harness on The Jet.
Rivers more than anybody should know how much the typical Allen play stagnated the Celtics' offense last season, so why he is running the same set with Terry is confusing to say the least.
Doc just needs to let Terry do his thing. He let him do it against the Toronto Raptors, and Terry exploded for 20 points and hit four of his seven three-point attempts. Use that game as a model, Doc.
Brandon Bass had a very good year for the Celtics last season, but outside of a couple of performance thus far, he has been mediocre at best this year.
Bass' best asset is his mid-range jump shot, and he has been struggling mightily with that. When he isn't hitting that shot, Bass doesn't do much else to merit significant playing time.
Jared Sullinger, however, brings much more to the table than Bass, and he should be earning some more minutes because of it. For a Boston team that is having a difficult time on the glass, more Sullinger could be the perfect remedy, as the rookie is averaging 8.4 rebounds per 36 minutes as opposed to 6.5 for Bass. Sullinger has also been much more efficient, shooting 53.5 percent form the floor while Bass is shooting a less than stellar 43.8.
Bass is a fine role player and will undoubtedly provide some value to the C's this season, but Rivers would probably be best-served splitting minutes between Bass and Sully rather than giving him the bulk of them to the former (Bass is averaging 28 minutes a night while Sullinger comes in at 17.8).
This potential change may be coming sooner than we think, too, as Sully tallied 26 and 27 minutes, respectively, in back-to-back impressive outings in the Celtics' last two games; Bass recorded 24 and 17.
UPDATE: It just came across that Darko Milicic may now be out for the season because he has to tend to his ill mother. Hopefully everything turns out well for Darko and his family.
It's not that Darko Milicic is a very good basketball player, because he isn't. However, the guy is seven feet tall and weighs 275 pounds. You're telling me he can't help the Celtics' rebounding woes at least somewhat?
Milicic doesn't even have to grab rebounds to be of assistance. All he needs to do is use his large frame to box out the opposition. Why Doc hasn't thought of this is kind of peculiar, as Darko has only played five minutes all year long (and all five of those minutes came in one game). He doesn't have to get a ton of burn, but a few minutes a game just to provide an interior presence couldn't hurt.
Rivers should take some of the minutes he has been giving Bass and give them to Milicic. Having the big guy out on the court for stints could go a long way in making Boston better on the glass.
Thus far, Courtney Lee appears to be the most uncomfortable new Celtic. He has only scored in double-figures twice this season, and only a few times has he flashed the kind of ability he has previously displayed during his young career.
This has a lot to do with the fact that Rivers is not utilizing him correctly. It seems as if Lee is not even a part of the offense when he is in the game. His shot attempts have been very limited and, as a result, he has not been able to get into any kind of rhythm.
It's about time Doc starts running some sets for the sharpshooter, as Lee shot over 40 percent from long range last season. Not just that, but the kid is athletic and can get to the basket, so allowing him some more freedom when the ball is in his hands would also be incredibly beneficial.
It should be only a matter of time before Lee really gets going, but there are some measures Rivers can take to expedite that process.
Like Lee, Jeff Green has had his moments this season, but they have been few and far between. He has looked his best, however, when his back is to the basket, and he can generate offense in the post.
Green has demonstrated that he definitely has skills on the low block, and it's a shame that those skills are not taken advantage of more often. Being that Green can play either forward position, he will either generally have a size advantage at the 33 or a quickness advantage at the 4. Both of those attributes can be used in the post.
Now, some of this may also fall on Green's shoulders, as he has not been assertive enough. That being said, Doc can put Green in positions to succeed by playing him in the right spots on the floor. That right spot is down low.