On Sunday night Brad Stevens made a move to insert Tyler Zeller into the starting lineup. He indicated that the change worked "fine" but didn't have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. Playing against the Spurs probably was enough to determine the final score. Yet, it sounds like the coach is a little upset at the effort shown by some and is looking to change up the lineup even further.
While Stevens said, "We know who the guys are who our best players are," and to not expect a lot of shuffling to the starting lineup, he indicated substitution patterns could change if the team continues to struggle in fourth quarters as it has the past three weeks. "There are moments in the course of a game," the coach said, "where, if you’re not playing well, we’ve got to go to our bench. Maybe I can consider doing that a lot more, or earlier, or whatever the case may be."
Stevens made the interesting move of inserting the end of his bench when there was still 4 minutes or so left in the game. Phil Pressey, Dwight Powell, and James Young joined Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller on the court. In theory the game wasn't over, but Stevens was clearly sending a message to the players that nobody's playing time is set in stone.
Depending on the flow of the game and who's playing better, I wouldn't be too surprised to see someone getting additional minutes off the bench in some upcoming games. Aside from the starters, the top minutes getters on the team are Evan Turner, Marcus Smart, and Brandon Bass.
Once Smart returns (he'll be evaluated this morning) that will obviously shake things up a little. Zeller has already been inserted into the lineup. I wonder if we'll see more of Pressey or Thronton at some point. Or perhaps Stevens will go with the veterans Bass and Gerald Wallace. Or maybe he'll find more creative ways to use Evan Turner, who can play 3 different positions.
Who do you think needs to see more playing time in the upcoming games?
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