Jet - Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
When the supporting cast (which was assembled to help Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo) can't pull their weight, the stars have to do heavier lifting.
By now we've all heard about or read about the standard excuse for the Celtics early struggles. Incorporating the new guys (specifically the bench) has taken longer than expected. We've seen this to different degrees in the past few years. Every year it seems the Celtics have overhauled the bench. But perhaps this is the most fundamental change because there's not just a new bench, but 1 or 2 new starters as well.
One aspect that I didn't consider, but that Greg Payne points out here, is the increased pressure that puts on the Celtics big 3. In short, when the supporting cast (which was assembled to help Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo) can't pull their weight, the stars have to do heavier lifting.
But until Jason Terry finds his jump shot, Jeff Green carves out a more defined niche without plays being called for him, Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa figure out how best to be effective, and until Rivers uncovers his best big-man rotation, the opposite will be the case. More will be asked of Pierce, Garnett and Rondo for now, as the Celtics basically figure themselves out. Not only are they the team's three best players, but they're the only remaining members of the 2008 championship squad. They know what this team needs to do in order to be successful, and they're the ones capable of guiding this group there until everyone gets adjusted.
Personally I'm less worried about Jason Terry. He's proven over the course of his career that he's a great shooter and shooters eventually find their touch. I actually have a good amount of faith in Courtney Lee for similar reasons, though he doesn't have the same resume.
Jeff Green, however, is the guy that makes me nervous. I have a lot of hope for him, but not a tremendous amount of confidence. I'm also waiting on Wilcox to have a bigger impact (and to be fair, he's probably not 100%) and I'm a little surprised we haven't seen more of Darko.
This bench that Danny assembled was supposed to be the deepest one in recent memory. So far it seems about ankle deep. Here's hoping that the tide comes in soon and we can look back on this as a simple learning curve that we had to get past.