The Celtics have had great success from their bench unit, but the starters haven't always held up their end of the equation.
The Celtics starters have the equivalent of a bottom-6 defense and their offense would be the NBA's second-worst (ahead of only Philadelphia). Obviously, they play mostly against other teams' first units, skewing the stats a bit. Still, they are a group of anti-Rockets, a midrange-chucking bastion of inefficiency that plays the game in direct conflict with most recent basketball advancements. It's not that the five players in the first unit are useless; they all help in their own ways. Together, though, they have not worked.
So does Brad Stevens ever consider making a change? Yup. "We've had that discussion almost every day." He says. So why doesn't he make the change? Well, it's complicated.
"The first six minutes of a 48-minute game are the first six minutes," he said. "You want to start as well as you can, but you also want to create rotations that you like.
"If your second unit's really playing at a high level, then you have to factor that in — that if you mix it up, your second unit may not play at a high level. I think that's something to consider, too.
"We go into halftime and we start talking about matchups and we start talking about, ‘Hey, we're struggling to do this, this and this. We need to change one guy. That might change it for us.' That's why a lot of times you'll see us at the start of the second half tweak the lineup."
It is up to every combination of players to perform the best they can. Hopefully the starters can step up enough to get the Celtics into the playoffs and make some noise there as well.
Actually, I can't wait to see what Stevens does in the playoffs where much more attention is put on matchups and adjustments made game to game or even quarter by quarter.