Perfect Playoffs Role for Each Boston Celtics' Bench Player
With the playoffs approaching, coaches are now beginning to devise the rotations they want to see in those postseason games. While they may not exactly shorten their rotations yet, they are certainly evaluating their players to see which lineups will be the most efficient in the biggest contests of the year.
The Boston Celtics' roster has changed dramatically throughout the season. Guys have gotten injured, other guys have been acquired through trades and others have been signed via free agency in the middle of the campaign. Due to all of the inconsistencies with this group over the course of the year, Doc Rivers has never really been able to get a firm grasp on what his best lineups really are.
Now, with the postseason about a month away, Rivers needs to start making some decisions. Who will be getting minutes? Who will get the short end of the stick? What roles will each of his reserves play?
It should be a fun final stretch.
Jeff Green: Renaissance Man
Easily the most versatile player on the Celtics' pine, Jeff Green will be asked to do it all in the playoffs.
Green has already proven that he can handle playing against the best teams in the league, as evidenced by his 43-point outburst when the Miami Heat came to town. He has also demonstrated an ability to have an effect on games in other ways, showing fine defensive prowess and the kind of athleticism to be a somewhat reliable shot blocker.
With Green's numbers increasing across the board as the season has progressed, there is absolutely no question that he will be Boston's most important reserve in the postseason.
Green should get at least 30 minutes a game, and if the C's meet the Heat in a seven-game series, Doc should—and would—give him more than that. He provides the Celtics with someone who can at least bother LeBron James defensively, and that would allow Paul Pierce to focus more on his offense rather than expending so much energy guarding James.
Jason Terry: Robert Horry
How many players currently in this league have hit more big shots than Jason Terry during their careers?
Not many, if any at all. Terry is well-known for being one of the most clutch shooters the NBA has to offer. Much like Robert Horry during his heyday, the role of putting the dagger through the heart of the opponent will be the one that Terry takes on during the playoffs.
It has been a bit of a rough go for Terry as of late, and it has been a rather inconsistent 2012-13 campaign for JET altogether. However, it is almost a given that Terry is going to be there in the postseason, and it's definitely logical to think that he is going to win the Celtics a playoff game or two with his deadly fourth-quarter shooting.
Even though Boston has four or five guards who will likely get some burn, Terry will get the benefit of the doubt from Rivers because of his playoff experience. The grizzly veteran should see at least 28-29 minutes a night, and if he is hitting his shots, that number should approach 35-40.
C's fans have been getting on Terry for a good portion of the year, but this man shall not be truly judged until the postseason rolls around. That is when he shines brightest.
Chris Wilcox: Crowd Pleaser and Time Buyer
Chris Wilcox is probably the most athletic Celtic outside of Green, having thrown down countless alley-oop dunks during his time in Boston. He is the perfect candidate to get the crowd going during a game where the C's are playing lifelessly.
TD Garden is generally loud as it is come playoff time, but with an exciting play or here or there, the roof nearly comes off the building. That is the type of role that suits Wilcox. He is not going to put up big numbers or be a consistently reliable presence on either end of the floor, but what he can do is utilize his athleticism to inject some fire into the crowd and the team.
Of course, Wilcox is also going to be the guy to come in and give Kevin Garnett a rest. Don't underestimate how vital this is. Those few minutes that Doc likes to sit K.G. during the end of the first and the beginning of the fourth quarter are absolutely crucial, and Wilcox will be the one to step up and fill his shoes.
Given that Garnett will see more minutes during the playoffs than he does during the regular season, Wilcox's 2012-13 average of 13.3 minutes a contest is likely going to dip. However, if he is outplaying Brandon Bass or if Green isn't giving the Celtics anything on one particular night, he will see more time. Overall, though, expect Wilcox to average about 10-12 minutes a game.
Jordan Crawford: Sparkplug
The term "instant offense" applies perfectly to Jordan Crawford. He may get a bit wild at times and his shot selection sometimes makes you want to pull your hair out, but there is no doubt that Crawford is a valuable piece to a potential Celtics playoff run.
In 15 games with Boston, Crawford is averaging 7.9 points per game. Take that number and convert it into per 36 minutes, however, and it jumps to 16.2. As a matter of fact, Crawford is putting up 18.3 points per 36 minutes for his career.
Starting to understand a little more why Crawford is instant offense now?
Crawford is also a guy whose minutes will fluctuate tremendously. He might get 20 minutes one night and five the next. It all depends on how he is performing in that particular game. If he isn't hitting his shots, Doc is not going to stay with him. Crawford is not like Terry. He doesn't carry that veteran savvy and track record and will not be given the benefit of the doubt if he is out of control.
Still, the C's are going to need his production off the pine, and you shouldn't be surprised if he ends up being the star of a big playoff win.
Terrence Williams: Occasional Playmaking
Chances are, Terrence Williams is not going to get much floor time in the playoffs. The fact that there aren't even any pictures of Williams wearing a Celtics uniform in the Bleacher Report database is fairly concrete evidence of that. He is the 10th man off Boston's bench, and even ninth men see their minutes cut during the postseason. Still, there may be some situations where Rivers calls on Williams.
Williams is one of the only players currently on the C's' roster who possesses some inkling of a point guard's mentality. He is a decent passer and ball-handler and has solid floor vision, making a relatively useful playmaker off the pine. Is he Rajon Rondo? Of course not, but he can make the occasional nice pass into traffic and make smart decisions on the fast break.
If the Celtics find themselves not needing scoring but instead someone who can come in and set guys up for their own opportunities, Williams may get the nod over Crawford. It's hard to imagine T-Will seeing the bulk of the minutes, but there may be circumstances where it is appropriate to go for the former Louisville standout.
Williams will probably not even see the court in some playoff games, and when he does, he will get no more than five-to-10 minutes depending on fatigue, foul trouble, etc.
D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph: Big Bodies for Fouls
Let's be honest here: neither D.J. White nor Shavlik Randolph is going to see much of the floor in the playoffs. The only way we'll see them is if there is a blowout or if guys are in foul trouble.
The good thing is that they are both big bodies, and they each have six fouls that they can use. Neither player is going to be called upon to spark the Celtics, as they just aren't...well, that good.
It will just be a case of Doc saying, "Wow. K.G., Bass, Green and Wilcox all have four fouls in the first half? OK, D.J. and Shavlik. Do your thing." And what are the chances of all four of those guys being in foul trouble early on? Slim to none.
White and Randolph just have to sit at the end of the pine and hope that Boston is up by 20 (or down by 20) with a couple of minutes to go. Then maybe, just maybe, they will get some burn.