Grant Williams is reportedly dealing with an elbow injury, Robert Williams has a hamstring issue, Payton Pritchard is out, and Marcus Smart has revealed he re-tweaked his ankle during a recent game for the Boston Celtics.
With just a few weeks remaining of the regular season, the Celtics find themselves at a crossroads: do they start sitting some of their primary rotation to allow their starters to heal up before the playoffs begin? Or do they push them to play through the minor tweaks to secure seeding and potentially look to reclaim the #1 seed from the Milwaukee Bucks?
On the latest episode of Vitamin C’s, I propose potentially moving Marcus Smart and Robert Williams to the bench for the remainder of the season. Derrick White has shown enough to earn himself a spot in the starting rotation, and reducing the workload on Smart can give him time to heal while also re-discovering his best form on both sides of the ball.
The move for Williams is slightly more nuanced, though, as it’s clear last season’s ‘best five’ might not be the ideal lineup for the style of offense Joe Mazzulla likes his team to play. By running the offense with one big and surrounding them with ball handlers who can all score across multiple levels, Boston could get back to the style of play we saw them dominate with earlier this season.
Furthermore, the Celtics would also be keeping Williams fresh for the postseason, when his defensive upside will be at its most valuable, at which point, you can start throwing out lineups dependent on matchups (as should be the case, of course.)
One thing which I state should be a non-starter is moving Malcolm Brogdon into the starting five — he’s been phenomenal as the Celtics' sixth man and has been available for the majority of the season. Piling additional workload onto his body this close to the postseason should be avoided at all costs; after all, Brogdon was acquired to resolve the lack of on-ball creation on Boston’s bench when facing set half-court defenses in...the playoffs!