10.19.2012

Now to Play Devil to My Own Advocate




Darko's temporary absence highlights just how vulnerable this Celtics rotation remains, despite a summer in which the front office successfully upgraded Boston's backcourt depth and re-signed the previously sidelined Jeff Green, an important addition to the wing. Earlier in the month, Doc had discussed the advantage of having Darko on the roster: "We can slide Kevin over to the four to start games. The first half of the year I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, so Kevin doesn't have a wrestling match the entire season with the bigs." 

In other words, the difference between a healthy Darko and the alternative is really the number of options Rivers has when deploying his lineups—options that have as much to do with Garnett's health as they do any strategic gains. Were Milicic to be sidelined for any significant period of time, Garnett also becomes the lone shot-blocker on the roster. Backup center Jason Collins hasn't averaged more than 0.9 blocks in any one season, and that was an outlier. Power forwards Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger aren't the shot-swatting types either.

That means that in addition to handling the stresses of the post, Garnett would also be on call to patrol the lane and intimidate slashers looking to get to the basket. He'd continue to be this team's defensive anchor, a good thing in the short-term, but a potentially costly one when the postseason rolls around
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First things first. I like Darko. I'm rooting for Darko. I think Darko has the kind of talent and size that could make the Celtics a better team. But is having a healthy Darko Milicic on the Celtics' roster a precondition to a successful season for Boston? 


No, at least not when it comes to the regular season. While there is a risk in not playing Darko much during the 82 game season, namely that he gets rusty and out of shape, playing him sparingly would also keep him healthy for the end of the season when the Green gear up for the playoffs. Notice I didn't conclude that last sentence with a clause "when the Celtics will need him," cuz we don't know if they'll need him. 

Every game this year, and every series in the playoffs will depend on match-ups, and its entirely possible that having Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, Chris Wilcox and Kevin Garnett roam the paint as the Celtics' 5 will more than do the trick against 90% of the teams.

Against the rest of the teams, you add Darko and Jason Collins to the rotation. This seems pretty simple to me. Now its an entirely different ballgame if Darko earns some  PT, and forces Doc's hand by making the second unit even better than it already promises to be. Darko does that and the Celtics' subs become historically notable.

Last but not least, as long as #5 is a Boston Celtic, HE WILL ALWAYS BE THE TEAM'S DEFENSIVE ANCHOR.

This is "potentially costly" in exactly what way?

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