Ray Allen, Doc Rivers open to bench role

Dunkin' Doughnuts is not paying us to use
this picture (though they are welcome to.)

The Celtics have been getting off to great starts of late. Avery Bradley's defense at the 2 guard position has been a boost to the starting 5, but now Ray Allen is about to return. The question C's fans are wondering is whether the C's would be better off bringing Ray off the bench. When I've been asked this very question, I've only cautioned that Ray gets most of his offense off precision Rajon Rondo passes.

Sticking Ray with a 2nd unit could drastically undermine Ray's offensive game. It would be similar to a baseball manager saving his lefty specialist in the pen to brink in versus a big right handed bat. Doc Rivers is open to the idea, but seems to have some of the same concerns.

“Trust me, if there’s a lineup out there, we’ve thought of it,” Rivers said. “This probably came up for the first time three years ago. But you’re always giving up something. We can move Ray, but then he’s not playing with Rondo and he doesn’t get looks. I mean, I think it’s simple until you actually do it.”

Ray Allen has an interesting response when asked about coming off the bench:
The team’s strong starts beg the question of whether it would be better for both the Celts and Allen to bring him in off the bench when he does return, perhaps as early as today, from a sore right ankle.

For his part, Allen says he would graciously accept such a move if coach Doc Rivers sees fit.

“If it makes us better offensively, I have no problem with it,” Allen said.

I agree that Ray is being gracious with his response, but it was interesting to hear him say, "If it makes us better offensively." I think the whole idea of the move is the desire to improve the Celtics defensively. But there's the rub. Ray is an offensive player, so he thinks in offensive terms. Doc knows that Ray is better off offensively playing next to Rondo. He also knows that the team is better off defensively with Bradley starting. The decision is in hands, but I believe if it's not today he'll eventually reinsert Ray into the starting 5, and personally I think that's the right call. If the Celtics aren't going to start Ray then they should have completed the 3 way trade that I proposed the week of the deadline (Ray to the Clips, a 1st rounder or Bledsoe to the Hornets, Kaman to the Celtics). The Celtics decided to keep Ray Allen through the end of the year, so no reason to throw him on the bench now.

What I would like to see in conjunction with that switch is Bradley then getting all the backup guard minutes.  I don't want Bradley to be relegated to only backing up Rondo. He should get minutes at both the 1 and 2. This might not sit well with Keyon Dooling, but so be it. With the makeup of this Celtics roster, Bradley needs more than just a dozen or so minutes a game. Doc's call.