Boston Celtics: Problems Off the Bench

Davin RContributor IMay 28, 2008

It seems like at times that Doc Rivers is attempting to run the Boston Celtics right into the ground.  His substitution patterns absolutely boggle me. 

Now, while I am more an Eddie House fan than I will ever be a Sam Cassell fan, Doc has to just pick one guy and stick with him.  This constant shuffling of the "who plays and who does not" roster has to be absolutely gut wrenching for the players. 

That's not even the greatest of the Celtics' problems, considering both of those guys are seasoned NBA veterans and can clearly handle Doc's mysterious substitution choices.  He's also playing with the minds of rookies by building up their confidence, then immediately ripping the proverbial carpet right out from under their feet. 

A prime example of this is the Leon Powe and Glen "Big Baby" Davis saga.  Now while I am admittedly a bigger Powe fan than I am a Davis fan, I do see what both guys can bring to the team with their strength, size, and outstanding hustle and athleticism.

But for now, let's just compare raw stats from the regular season. 

Leon averaged more points and more rebounds, the two major stats for a power forward, than Glen Davis in about equal minutes. For that, he was rewarded with major minutes in the first-round playoff series against Atlanta.

Let's look at playoff production.  In the first round against Atlanta, Powe scored seven points a game and grabbed 3.5 boards in 18 minutes, while Davis scored 2.5 points and grabbed 1.5 boards in eight minutes.

Now let's jump to the conference semis against Cleveland.  Powe scores four a game and grabs 1.5 rebounds in 12 minutes while Davis scores 2.5 points and grabs one board in seven minutes. 

Now do you see a trend here in these first two rounds? Leon Powe played over Glen Davis.  Granted P.J. Brown took some of Leon's minutes, but that was necessary against a bigger more experienced Cavalier team then what the Celtics had faced in their first round.

Let's fast-forward once again to the series against Detroit.  All of a sudden, with no greater production than Leon Powe, Glen Davis is all of a sudden playing eight minutes and Powe just two.  This just boggles me.

I understand that there are guys on teams that are "hustle players" who bring a lot to the team. Davis is one of those guys, and clearly he is a better team defender then Powe. This puts him right up there in the mind of associate head coach Tom Thibodeau.

There's no reason for the constant shuffling of the roster.

Glen Davis has been a hustle guy all season, and as a coach you know exactly what you will get from him in terms of production and hard fouls (said jokingly). As a coach, you have to pick one or the other and stick with it. 

Now if a guy slacks off at practice or is hurting the team, then you obviously have to make a move, but at this point in the season there should be a definitive one player playing over the other, as opposed to the constant back and forth. 

Hopefully Doc will make a choice, and while it may not be in my favor if he chooses Glen Davis (or Cassell), the choice will benefit both the players and the team.