The starters have been an offensive nightmare: Is it time for a change?
We are only three games into a long season, but the opening minutes in each game have been painful to watch for Celtics fans, given the potential many feel this team has. In the team's first matchup against Philadelphia, the starters (Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, David Lee, Tyler Zeller) made only 6 of their 16 attempts in the first quarter. In game 2 against Toronto, the same group shot just 4 of 14. Against San Antonio on Sunday, they hit 3 of 12 before Brad Steven’s patience expired, subbing in Isaiah Thomas and Amir Johnson.
This starting units’ offensive struggles have been clear, and have been backed up by the numbers. Stevens likely agrees, and it appears he plans on addressing it:
C's starting lineup has scored just 66.6 points per 100 poss. Stevens suggests unit could change soon: "We’ll do more research on it."
“I don’t think we’re going to have rotations and all that stuff figured out as early as you’d like, because it’s one of those things where we’ve got a lot of equal guys, and guys who can really step up and make plays on a given night.” – Brad Stevens
I don’t expect a major overhaul, but I do believe the frontcourt needs to be addressed. Through 3 games, Tyler Zeller has just 2 rebounds and has left much to be desired on defense. David Lee is shooting just 5 for 20 on the season.
An option the coaching staff might consider is inserting Jared Sullinger into the starter role, replacing Zeller. Sully has shot 13 of 23 (56.5%) coming off the bench and is averaging 6 rebounds per game. He could be the low post scoring threat the starters have lacked to this point.
It might be too early and a sign of desperation, but has Isaiah Thomas made a case for himself to be a starter yet? Averaging 2 steals to go along with his 22.3 points per game, Thomas hasn’t quite seemed like the defensive liability he’s been in the past.
It feels like there's an endless amount of options for Boston’s first five and rotations moving forward. What do you think the Celtics should do to shake up the starting lineup, if anything at all?