Speaking of benches, the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers are only going to go as far as their benches will take them. Each squad features a potent starting five, but the reserves aren't nearly as solid.
The C's can throw out Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green and Kevin Garnett—assuming none of them are suspended or anything—and ensure a lot of production. Meanwhile, Portland's five-man lineup of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, J.J. Hickson and LaMarcus Aldridge is solid top-to-bottom, especially if Batum can keep up his stellar pace.
However, things don't look as rosy when you go further down in the depth charts.
Jared Jeffries, Meyers Leonard, Sasha Pavlovic and Ronnie Price are the top contributors off the bench for the Trail Blazers, and they've earned PERs of minus-0.7, 12.6, 8.3 and 6.1, respectively. Ouch.
Boston is in a similar situation with Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and Chris Wilcox. Those four guys have respective PERs of 15.2, 7.0, 13.5 and 15.3. The numbers in Beantown are more impressive, but they're still not indicative of a contender.
Let's look at one more advanced stat from Basketball-Reference.com. The Celtics' bench has earned a combined 1.6 win shares on the season. Portland's has put up a goose egg.
To put things in perspective, 12 players in the league have already topped 2.0 win shares by themselves.