It has been a while since we've had a legit competition for a starting spot on this team. Doc raised some eyebrows by starting both Jared Sullinger and Jason Terry over the assumed starters Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee. The shooting guard position is a conversation unto itself and one that will be further complicated once Avery Bradley gets back, so I thought I'd concentrate on the power forward spot today.
Rivers cautioned against reading too much into Sunday's lineup change. Brandon Bass, the incumbent starting power forward, knocked down all five shots he took and quietly put up 11 points and eight rebounds over 24:36 off the bench. Of course, that may only fuel the notion that Bass could have a bigger impact off the pine. Remember that Boston brought Bass here last offseason as a reserve contributor. He spent much of the first half of the season in a sixth-man role before ascending to the starting lineup and aiding Boston's second-half turnaround after Garnett shuffled to center.
I think it is good to have a little competition mixed into training camp. It only drives the guys to work that much harder at the outset. A number of people on this blog have commented that Sullinger should be starting. For my part I thought that Bass had done enough to keep the starting spot but that eventually Sully would take over. Maybe as soon as later in the year.
However, if Sullinger is going to keep performing as well as he has so far, he might force Doc's hand to start him right away. Everyone has been lauding his IQ and his poise. So if he doesn't play like a nervous rookie, why treat him like one? Throw him into the deep end and let him do the backstroke right into another bunch of offensive rebounds.
I found myself almost giggling whenever I saw Sully pulling down an offensive rebound yesterday. It was like manna from heaven (with apologies to Kahn and Darko). Speaking of which, it might be a nice rotation to have Sully start with KG for an inside-outside presence. Then have Bass team up with Darko with the second unit. Hopefully Wilcox will return soon to add to that depth as well.
If Bass goes back to starting, I'm fine with that for now. But if he continues on this arch, it is clear that Sullinger is the future at the 4. So I have no problem starting the future now.