The Boston Celtics suffered another defeat at the hands of a Western Conference team last night as old friend Tony Allen and the Memphis Grizzlies stormed out of TD Garden with a 93-83 victory.
It leaves everyone wondering just who are the Boston Celtics this season? But I’d like to know, what roles do the bench players actually provide?
Look at how the bench was constructed in the 2007-08 season. The core of the team was in the starting unit of KG, Pierce, Ray Allen, Rondo and Perk. At that time, it was probably the most cohesive, solid starting units in the league despite being together for only one training camp.
First off the bench was James Posey. Posey was definitely the most complete player off the bench that season. He could guard 2-through-4 and hit the deep ball, shooting 38 percent from 3 off the bench. Eddie House was your second long-distance option. His role was to come in, be a nuisance on defense — as best he could — and stretch the floor with the outside game.
Leon Powe, Tony Allen and Glen “Big Baby” Davis were your gritty, do-it-all players. They defended, rebounded, took charges and did just about anything necessary for the bench to keep the game close while the starters got as much as a blow as they could possibly get. Finally, the late additions of Sam Cassell and PJ Brown added that veteran savvy to the game. Yes, Cassell took some ill-advised shots like he was in his mid-20s again, but he was a scorer and did so in some key stretches in the playoff run. What more can be said about Brown’s seemingly out of nowhere contributions?
That brings me back to this Celtics’ bench.
Stack up the 2007-08 unit with this current version of the bench and hands down, on talent alone, you would take this season’s edition. Jeff Green and Courtney Lee are complete basketball players. They’ve proven it at different stops in their career. But right now you are getting empty double-digit games from Green and Lee is really not comfortable in this system for some reason — didn’t we all think he was the absolute perfect fit?
Jason Terry hit a couple of big, late 3-pointers last night. His defense has been questionable at times, but I have the most faith in him buying into the off the bench role now that Avery Bradley is back. Jury is still out on JET, but one would think he could resemble the scoring threat in a reserve role.
Jared Sullinger is coming into his own. But he’s still a rookie, and as we can all see, he’s not getting calls his way. When he is on the court he is productive, and he most resembles the kind of bench/role player from the 07-08 team. Give him time, especially with him working with KG for long stretches last night.
The thing is, would you rather have a bench made up of the most “complete” players, or a bench made up of guys who fill one role and fill it extremely well. Right now it just looks like the Celtics have too much of the same thing when they rotate guys in and out of the lineup.