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Over the off-season, the big talk surrounding the Celtics was the revamped second unit. While certainly more capable than last season's, this year's bench has struggled to hit the ground running. With 16 games in the books, here are some observations.

The Jet: Jason Terry was the Celtics biggest offseason acquisition, and he has built serious hype over his bold predictions. Though he has actually started 11 games thus far, the Jet should eventually slide back into his customary role as 6-man. He has promised to bring a big spark off the bench, and so far, he has held up his end of the bargain, scoring with incredibly efficiency (50% FG, 40% 3's, 86% FT's). Jason has also been our most reliable non-Big 3 player (though Jason Collins' has been pretty damn consistent with his invisibility-routine). Assuming Avery Bradley comes back healthy, our bench should see a big boost once Jet joins the reserves.

Jeff Green: There's one thing we can't deny: the guy has talent. However, he has been horribly inconsistent, regularly following up strong performances with absolute stinkers. He was horrible against Orlando, though I was glad that he kept attacking despite all the misses. Green should take around 10 shots a game, and once he steps up and wins Doc's trust, "Uncle Jeff" can become a dependable contributor. He was terrific against Oklahoma City and had another fine game tonight, the question is whether this time he can follow it up with another strong showing.

Courtney Lee: It's looking like Courtney Lee is going to be "just" a role-player this season. The good news? He is really damn good energetic. When he gets significant minutes, Lee shows his merit by harassing opposing teams with his pesky defense. He comes up with impressive hustle-plays on a nightly basis. However, he has been horrendous from downtown despite his strong career stats from 3-point land, even airballing an open 3 tonight. If Courtney wants to play more, he's going to have to start connecting from deep, and soon, before Bradley takes away even more minutes. Even though he hasn't met the best-case preseason projections, he has way more ability than previous role-players like Keyon Dooling or Marquis Daniels(still love those guys!)

The Rest: Sullinger has been fantastic. His D needs work, as he's been beaten far too many times on post-plays, he has been a rebounding machine and uses his body really well. He has an uncanny knack for tip-ins and he has impressed with his jump shot. Barbosa has been a steal; his instant offense will continue to come in handy when guys need rest (or get suspended!). Wilcox is a great alley-oop partner for Rondo and is shooting over 70% from the field. He is really rusty on defense, but he's been better than expected as a nice athletic boost. Lastly, it has to be mentioned, what the fuck happened to Darko Milicic? I mean seriously, all that hype for FIVE minutes?!?

All in all, I think our bench is on the road to becoming one of the top-5 in the NBA. There's still a lot of gelling to be done, but hey, at least we haven't had any awkward "blow a 20-point 4th quarter lead and bring the starters back to beat a lottery team by only 3 points" games!

Jacob Zweiback 11/30/2012 10:57:00 PM Edit
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