Albeit a small, 5 game sample size, the numbers suggest Jonas Jerebko deserves more minutes. In the Celtics 3 losses this season, Jerebko has averaged 12.3 minutes per game. In the 2 wins, the Swede has averaged 17.5 mpg.
There we have it. Problem solved. We need to start the Swedish Larry Bird and play him all 48 minutes! You’re welcome Brad.
No in all seriousness, what can be more important than numbers is the eye test, but Jerebko is producing in both. When he’s on the court, there is a clear uptick in Boston’s defensive intensity, more switches, and tipped passes. At the other end of the floor, #8 creates space with his 3 point shooting ability (a bit better than a former #8 PF that comes to mind) and has developed a floater that could turn into his signature move.
The numbers back up how valuable he is on the court for this team, as he is +21 on the young season.
In an ESPN article by Chris Forsberg earlier today, Forsberg noted Jerebko’s versatility on defense, mentioning the wide range of NBA talent he has faced already this year. Jerebko seems to thrive in it:
"When I’m out there, I like to switch around and I like to be on a little bit of everybody," said Jerebko. "Being in this league for so long, you kinda know what people do. I take pride in defense. Of course you’re going to get beat, you’re going to get dunked on, you’re going to get scored on. But it’s all in how you respond to that. The players in this league are incredibly talented, everybody, so just try to make it as hard for the other guys to score as possible."
"I love it. That’s what you want to do -- you want to be in there and playing against the guys that want to score and the guys that matter," said Jerebko. "I watch some clips of them the day before the game and see what their tendencies are. For me, I’m 6-10, long arms, long wingspan, so I just try to use that as much as I can."
As it’s been mentioned before, Brad Steven’s loves the small ball lineup, and it was a big reason for the C's success last season. Jerebko played and still plays a vital role in that and if it means cutting into the minutes of our 5 “traditional” big men, then so be it. If Jerebko has to take court time from guys like David Lee and Tyler Zeller for this year’s group to be successful, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I hope Stevens and the coaching staff are on the same page.
The Celtics take on the 4-3 Bucks in Milwaukee tonight and look to keep the one game winning streak alive. And it’s probably obvious at this point what I’ll be looking for… PLAY THE SWEDE!
Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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