How bad are the Celtics right now? I think it’s like the-end-of-the-regular-season-with-games-slipping-away-left-and-right bad. The worse part is that unlike those regular season ending droughts where they still fight but maybe only half heartedly as they try to preserve themselves in the post season, this on the other hand, there seem to be an all out effort to fight for a win but it’s just not happening. Changes, as reported here, might happen if this dismal trend continues and they might want to start at this:
1. Remove JO from the starting five – Last season the injury that saddled O’Neal made him miss games and was a focal starting point when arguing why he was ineffective. Boston was still able to make it work by having Shaq, Erden and later on Kristic play while JO went in and out of the rotation. Now with an apparent clean bill of health, it is evident that injured or not, JO is simply way past his prime. He can still contribute especially on the defensive end but is better suited coming off the bench. Boston needs an energetic first five to jumpstart their offense. Should they use the amnesty clause to waive JO? Possibly. They can use that to sign a scorer like Wilson Chandler, move KG at the center position and start with the Big 4 and Chandler. They can also go small with Chandler and Bass. But Chandler will still be available perhaps before the trading deadline ends when the Chinese basketball league season closes. Should they start Steimsma now instead of JO? That seems to be the only option and anyway Steimsma is better than Erden who still manage to get considerable playing time during his stint here.
2. For now don't look at the bench for answers- Reality check: this bench is too uneven to provide significant help. Dooling is better suited playing with Rondo than playing as Rondo’s back-up. We’ve seen how he can be an effective spot up shooter but that would work better if the ball is off his hands. With Pietrus finally playing can the bench hold the fort by themselves without any of the Big 4? I doubt it. Unless they find a solid point guard who can back up Rondo the offense would remain to stagnate when the bench is playing without any of the Big 4. I would really like to see Moore be given a chance to play PG.
The season is still young and however disappointing it has been so far, Boston still has a lot of room to make adjustments to make it work. Rondo needs to stay aggressive on offense and if we can get the usual production from Pierce and Allen along with Rondo's that could possibly translate to 40-60 points coming from just the 3 of them, giving them a better chance to win games.