The Many Bright Spots for the Boston Celtics
Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr.com)
The Boston Celtics best performing five-man unit through 50 games this season does not include injured point guard Rajon Rondo. You also will not find 10-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce among their best lineup. This is not to say these two players were ineffective this year. Any team in the league would love to have either of them. This simply highlights that their have been many bright spots for the Boston Celtics.
According to 82games.com the best 5-man lineup for coach Doc Rivers this year is as follows:
PG – Jason Terry
SG – Courtney Lee
SF – Jeff Green
PF – Jared Sullinger
C – Kevin Garnett
A full-season of this squad would win more than 50 games in the Eastern Conference. Considering that Boston is on pace to win just 43 games it’s a bit surprising that their best lineup sports three players averaging fewer than 24 minutes.
You can argue that Garnett is still their best player because of his defense. His Simple Rating from 82games.com ranks the center as the 21st-best player in the league. Boston allows nine fewer points per 100 possessions with Garnett on the floor compared to when his backups are in the game. The only problem is that the odometer on Garnett reads “17 years as a pro” and Rivers limits him to 30 minutes per night.
Since signing as a free agent with Boston last summer, Jason Terry has been his usual shooting self (57 percent True Shooting). Lee has been very good defending the leagues 2-guards. Opponents shoot a dismal 44 effective field-goal percentage against Lee.
Losing Sullinger for the rest of the year with recurring back problems is a really big blow to the Celtics’ playoff chances. The rookie from Ohio State is by far Boston’s best rebounder (averaging 11 rebounds per 36 minutes).
After beginning the season in a very disappointing fashion, Green has come on strong the last two weeks. In his first 41 games this year, Green averaged just nine points per game while shooting 42 percent from the field. Over his last 10 games, the former Georgetown standout is averaging 14 points per game while shooting 54 percent.
Wins Produced still has Rondo as their best player this year and a top-five point guard in the NBA. Playing without their All-Star point guard and second-best interior player for the remainder of 2013 probably means that the C’s are sunk.
Even if Rivers and company make the playoffs they will likely face a first-round loss to the Miami Heat or New York Knicks. If general manager Danny Ainge can fetch a solid young player for Garnett, he should probably make the trade.
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Pete was too short to play basketball but too tall to be a fighter pilot. He's just the right height to write about sports.