Headed into the season we had reason to hope for good things from our bench. Danny had, on paper at least, put together a pretty decent looking squad given his limited salary cap space.
The season started and the bench didn't do so well. The starters were kind of treading water and when the reserves entered the game things went south fast and the team couldn't make up the difference. That isn't to put all the losses at the feet of the bench though. The starters could have and should have shown more energy and aggressiveness.
In the last few games, however, the reserves have taken the initiative much more often and it has inspired the starters to greater efforts as well.
It’s almost as if the veterans have been shaken awake by the role players. "Well, they see them," coach Doc Rivers said. "It’s always been a pull-push thing in the NBA. The older players pull the younger guys along, and the younger guys push the veterans. "(The reserves) just play as hard as they can. Literally I’ve simplified it to three sets. That’s all we’re running, and that way they can function. That makes it easier for them."
I like the idea of the simplified sets for the new guys. The starters have been around for so long that they can run some sets in their sleep, but when they have to bring along a new guy it can be rough going early on. Also keep in mind that there are dozens of variations and different looks out of the same sets so that it isn't always the same 3 exact plays each time.
Regardless of what plays they run, if the reserves can keep bringing the energy (especially on defense) then they will be a major asset to this team.
They've already been key to getting the last 4 wins despite being short handed. Hopefully they can keep it up and really make this team formidable if/when they get mostly healthy again.