Brad Stevens has five established big men on his roster--Tyler Zeller, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, David Lee and Jared Sullinger (for the Perry Jones and Jonas Jerebko lovers, those guys can play small forward too). On Monday, Stevens acknowledged he probably can't/won't go five-deep in the frontcourt on a regular basis. Via Mass Live's Jay King, Stevens said:
My thought right now is we wouldn't play more than four on most nights. So whoever those four might be may depend on the night, it may depend on how they are playing, it may depend on who is healthy. All that other stuff.
Sullinger recently spoke on the topic as well. From Scott Souza of the Worcester Telegram:
I just think, overall, it helps our basketball team when you've got competition like that. All five guys have been starters in this league — from me, to D-Lee, to Tyler, to Kelly, to Amir.
That's a big challenge to tell somebody who is so used to starting that 'Hey, you're coming off the bench,' or 'Hey, you're not playing tonight.' If it's in the best interest of the team, at the same time, we’ve got to accept that. If you're the guy on the bench, or if you're the guy who is starting, you've got to play that role.
To this point, through the extremely small sample of two overseas preseason contests, Sullinger appears to be the odd man out. He's been the last big man to enter each game, and averaged the fewest minutes of the five. However, Sully has produced when on the floor, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds (second on the team to Lee's 18) in 27 total minutes of action.
It wasn't long ago (after the Rajon Rondo trade, before the rest of the deadline moves) that Sullinger was generally considered to be the best player on the Celtics. Is it really possible he could end up out of the regular rotation? And if not him, who?
Opening Night is 15 days away, and everybody is healthy. Good luck Brad.
Photo credit: Dave Sandford/NBAE via Getty Images
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan Mark Van Deusen 10/13/2015 01:12:00 PM Tweet Edit