Why not? That's the primary question here. Why not play Shavlik Randolph and DJ White some more. If you are going to lose 5 straight and struggle to win a game over the hapless Cavs without their best players, then you might as well experiment a little. We won't have Garnett back for another week or so and the minutes have to go somewhere.
So far Doc has preferred the sense of security he gets from going small because it features players he's more comfortable with. But of course going small for too long exposes matchup problems and can sometimes create more disadvantages than advantages.
So I come back to the opening question. Why not play Shavlik more? What could it hurt? Clearly he's not going to be a star. He might not even crack the playoff rotation (assuming KG and Lee come back healthy). But he can eat up some quality minutes and maybe give this team an edge here or there.
Obviously the team has struggled all year with rebounding (point of emphasis or not). So I was pleasantly surprised to see what an impact Shavlik could have on that area.
Here's Boston's glaring problem (or at least one of them): Garnett is the team's only consistent rebounder since rookie Jared Sullinger was lost for the season. The Celtics' remaining rotation-caliber bigs -- Green, Wilcox and Brandon Bass -- are all below-average on the glass despite their above-average size and athleticism. Enter Randolph. In six appearances, he's grabbed 3.8 rebounds per game -- and that's in a mere 9.8 minutes per contest (he hasn't played more than nine minutes in any of his past three outings). Randolph has posted obscene rebound rates, particularly over those three games without Garnett, grabbing 34.8 percent of all available defensive rebounds and 27 percent of total rebound opportunities in that span.
He's making people pay attention. Already he's got a groundswell of fan enthusiasm, and now he's starting to get the attention of the coach as well.
"We don’t know going into games who’s going to play, who’s going to play well," said Rivers. "I thought (Shavlik Randolph), by the way, was terrific again. He was wonderful for us. I thought that the second group in the second quarter gave us a good lift as well. I told them, ‘Guys, we’ve just got to find ways to win.’ This is not necessarily how we want to play, we’re going to change styles. We’re going to go from big to small in every game. I thought today was so much better than last night with guys figuring it out.
So free Shavlik. Because why not?