The Celtics Bench Rebuilt Again

Maybe there won't be quite so much drop-off when KG and company have to rest next year.

It seems like every year the Celtics tear up the bench and start over. Usually that's by necessity since several of them have gotten hurt or rendered disposable due to sub-par play. Last year, however, we saw a few guys go in the other direction. Both Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass started off on the bench and ended the regular season as starters.

If you look back at box scores from the first few games of last season (just 7 months ago, if you can believe it), we had guys like Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, and Sasha Pavlovic playing big rotation minutes. Jermaine O'Neal was the defacto starter at center (and training camp MVP!) and Wilcox was filling in a bit as well.

By the end of the year, injuries forced us to use Ryan Hollins in playoff games and both Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus had to play hurt due to the lack of alternatives.

Obviously a lot has changed. Consider that the Celtics lost Ray Allen and won't have Avery Bradley to start the season but still can still call their shooting guard position a strength. Courtney Lee will likely start the season as a starter. When Bradley returns, Doc will be able to mix and match backcourt lineups with Lee, Terry and Avery. Bradley and the Jet can even help bring the ball up when Rondo is taking a breather. There's also still time to bring back Dooling if Doc wants a Ty Lue type player/coach and emergency backup point.

Then you've got Jeff Green as the versatile backup for Pierce. Folks can focus on his "master of none" all they want, but he's still got the "jack of all trades" thing going for him, which again gives Doc lots of flexibility. I greatly prefer Green at the 3, but he can also give us a small-ball lineup by playing some 4. Kris Joseph is the break-glass-if-needed youngster that will likely spend time in Maine.

Jared Sullinger is likely to move right into the rotation backing up Bass at the 4. Chris Wilcox can play both the 4 and the 5 depending on the team's need. And they may need him there more often than not since he would appear to be the best option backing up Kevin Garnett.

Newly signed Jason Collins is a solid defender and has the intangibles of a smart 11 year veteran, but won't score or rebound much. Melo is another break-glass-if-needed guy, sure to be getting acquainted with Lobsters in the winter (hey, he did "study" at Syracuse).

Every year there is high hopes for the bench and things don't always go as planned, but there's several reasons to be optimistic about this bunch.

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