Avery Bradley says bench owns starters in practice, is that bad?
During the late-season playoff run in the 2014-2015 campaign, the Celtics' bench production was seen as one of the team's greatest assets. Regardless of how the starters were playing, you could count on bench players like Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk coming in and making an immediate impact.
The first three games of this young season have been the same story. The bench unit has outscored the starters 171-131 and has shown that it can put the ball in the hoop consistently. Even Avery Bradley is starting to make mention of the fact that the reserves can compete with anybody:
Avery Bradley on 2nd string: "To be honest some days they beat us. They own us right now."
Although it's a good problem to have, considering the Celtics need as much offense as they can get, should Brad Stevens consider moving up some of the productive players from the bench? After a slow start to the season, that has been something that has been addressed constantly by team pundits everywhere.
It's an intriguing question in my opinion. One of the strengths of our bench is the fact that they play so well together, especially when it comes to Thomas and Amir Johnson. That tandem has been one of the most effective pairings on the team and their chemistry is extremely evident on the floor. So that begs the question, are you willing to break up such a dynamic duo in order to bolster the starting lineup? Stevens is beginning to think more critically about these questions after an underwhelming three-game start.
Head coach Brad Stevens knows his team lost to two strong teams, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs, and has stressed he does not want to overreact to a small sample size. But he also plans to continue digging into the early results for possible changes. While he had hoped, for example, David Lee's playmaking might charge the starting lineup's offense, Stevens will react to the action rather than his initial plans.
"I'm going to spend a lot less time being committed to a plan that was preconceived and a lot more time evaluating what's going on," Stevens said. "Who is playing well, how they best complement each other, and everything else. If we can find some consistency in that, that'd be helpful.
Are the struggles of the starting five something to be worried about? Does Stevens need to shake things up and find a different group to send out there at tip-off that works on both ends of the floor?
Photo Credit: Brain Babineau/NBAE
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