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Minutes area big deal in the NBA regardless of whether you're a rookie or 15 year veteran.
Yes the health of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett will be a concern for the Celtics this coming season. However, in the event that both players remain fairly healthy there could be other concerns.
Both players are free agents after the season and as of now neither has made a public announcement that they will retire after this season. If both players intend to continue their careers they may very well be doing so at a reduced salary and/or on another team in the 2012-2013 season.
That, plus the need to try and keep both players in good health could be a cause for reduced minutes at times this season. Trimming a player's playing time is always a tough thing to do. When those players are future Hall of Fame residents, as both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, are it can be downright controversial.
It's going to be a tough balancing act for head coach Doc Rivers who will need to figure out an amount of minutes for both players which allows them to flourish on the court while also allowing for younger players to learn the Celtics' system and hopefully keep the team as whole in the race for the Atlantic Division title and high playoff seed.
NBA games are 48 minutes long. Ray Allen has averaged 37.0 minutes per game for his 15 year career including 36.1 per game just last season. Kevin Garnett has played 16 NBA seasons averaging 36.7 minute per game with an average of 31.3 last season.
It's likely that those minute per game numbers will come down a touch this season. There will of course be some leeway for Coach Rivers but there also exists a tipping point on each player. A point where one or both could become annoyed that their coach is yielding minutes to players with less experience or less talent.
At the same time Rivers knows that he will need both players in top form if the Celtics are to make a decent playoff run. If that means that some nights they only play 25 minutes then that could be a problem.
Finally the specter of free agency means that both players will be more conscious of their statistical performance this year. They know all too well that teams looking to sign them next offseason will be basing proposed contracts on the stats that Allen and Garnett put up this season as opposed to the very impressive career numbers they've accumulated. Less minutes usually means less numbers, less numbers could very well mean less money.
Doc Rivers is in for a uniquely challenging season as head coach of the Celtics and the players are also in for one as well.