Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are sure-fire starters for the Boston Celtics heading into the 2012-13 NBA season. With Avery Bradley still recovering from a shoulder injury, it’s fair to say that newly acquired Courtney Lee will be holding down the shooting guard spot until his inevitable return.
It was (at one point) assumed that Brandon Bass, a starter for 39 games last season, would also be returning to his starting power forward position as well.
Well, there’s no such thing as a “sure thing” with these Boston Celtics.
Head Coach Doc Rivers is now leaving the door open for rookie forward Jared Sullinger to slide into that role. The idea is that having Sullinger start and moving Bass to a reserve role would give Boston more depth.
Rivers is also considering experimenting with different rotations, including starting former #2 overall pick Darko Milocic occasionally at the 5 spot.
“We may go to a transitional starting lineup, you know, have three different lineups. We put a lot of thought into it. We just will figure it out.”
“I’m going to try it a couple of games, and then I’ll throw Brandon in and I’ll throw Darko in a couple times. So you can read into it whatever you want, but there’s been no decisions made on anything now.”
During the Celtics two overseas preseason games against Turkey and Italy, Jared put up 25 points and 15 rebounds in just 37 minutes of action.
Is starting Jared Sullinger a good idea?
Putting Jared into that role right away works on many levels for this Celtics team.
As mentioned above, having Bass come off the bench will give the second unit some much needed depth in the paint, as Chris Wilcox, Darko Milicic and Fab Melo are the only other bigs outside of Kevin Garnett of course.
Those names don’t exactly inspire much confidence.
Sullinger starting will surely help in the rebounding department, as Boston ranked dead last (yes, even behind the Charlotte Bobcats) in rebounds last season with just 38.8 a game. Jared averaged 9.7 rebounds a game during his two-year stint with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Bass, on the other hand, was 50th amongst power forwards last season in rebounds per 48 minutes, which isn’t a great statistic for a starting forward in the NBA.
Jared is already getting high praise from his future hall of famer teammate Kevin Garnett.
“His IQ is very high. I watched him a couple of times while he was (at Ohio State), and we saw a little of what he can do skill-wise. When you play with him you can actually see the IQ.”
Rajon Rondo has also had kind words to say about Sullinger.
Nothing is set in stone as of yet. From how it looks now, not only could Sullinger see time in the starting line-up, but a couple of other Celtics could as well.
Will it hurt team chemistry on the court? Is it wise to constantly tinker with the starting line-up rather than having a select group of players who begin each game on a nightly basis?
Whether or not Sullinger becomes or remains a starter for the duration of the season, it can only help the Celtics moving forward.
Give the rookie some playing time and allow him the opportunity to produce alongside Boston’s new “Big Three”. Throwing a player of his potential and his IQ into the lion’s den right away will give the Celtics yet another experienced weapon come the postseason.
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports