The NBA trade deadline has come and gone. At this point, the Celtics roster is what it is (with the possible exception of adding another body to fill David Lee's spot). There are four unproven and untested young players on the team: RJ Hunter (22), Terry Rozier (21), Jordan Mickey (21) and James Young (20)--the kids.
It's time to see what the kids can do.
Boston has already played 57 games (33-24) this season, meaning it has just 25 remaining. That's 25 games to find out if any of these guys might one day be important pieces of the puzzle. What's the rush? The C's have eight more picks in the upcoming draft.
Danny Ainge will need to make a number of moves this summer in order to have room for everybody. Before that happens, it'd be nice to figure out which of the current group of recent draft picks are worth hanging on to.
Last fall, Brad Stevens said that one of the advantages of having such a deep squad would be the ability to rest players from time to time over the course of the season. It's time for the Celtics to start taking advantage of that in a Popovich-ian manner.
Yesterday, Avery Bradley was a game-time decision with a bruised knee. Bradley suited up and scored 20 points, but that was a golden opportunity for Stevens to give his starting shooting guard some rest and throw a few minutes in the direction of Hunter, Young or Rozier.
Stevens has been running a 10-man rotation that's down to nine with Kelly Olynyk on the shelf for a few weeks. Here's my suggestion: Sit one rotation player per game from here on out. Play one of the kids 15-20 minutes in each contest. Tonight could it be Mickey, Thursday Young, Saturday Rozier, Monday Hunter, etc. Give them all a shot at getting some real playing time in five or six of the remaining 25 games. Let them each have a chance to prove they belong.
Is 15-20 minutes a night really enough to make much of a difference in Boston's playoff drive? Even if it costs the C's an extra loss or two, is that a big deal? It wouldn't even have to be every game that Stevens sits somebody--he could still roll out his regular lineup for the big matchups.
Today is the perfect time to put this plan into action--the second night of a road back-to-back against a bad opponent (Minnesota). How about giving Amir Johnson a chance to rest his achy ankles and letting Mickey (the league-leader in PER) get some serious burn?
Follow Mark Vandeusen on Twitter @LucidSportsFan Mark Van Deusen 2/22/2016 02:16:00 PM Tweet Edit