Doc Rivers is like a kid in a candy store right now.
He’s got so many talented players that he doesn’t know what to do with them all. Literally.
Rivers is experimenting with his plethora of starting-caliber talent through the first couple weeks of training camp, and that experimentation of inserting players into the first and second units will continue throughout the preseason.
We know that Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be introduced as starters, but after that it’s anybody’s guess.
“I’m not worried about our starting lineup, I’m more worried about our second lineup,” Rivers said. “And that’s the lineup that we’re going to keep moving guys around. I’ve said it before, if you can take a starter and put him on the second unit, then that’s good for the second unit. I don’t know if we’ll do that, but we may.”
In Milan, Jason Terry started over Courtney Lee, but it was Jared Sullinger’s start over Brandon Bass that raised some eyebrows. How could a rookie in his second preseason game be considered to start for a team looking to win an NBA championship? Rivers explained that Sullinger “thinks like a veteran,” while Rondo raved about his smarts.
“He’s probably the smartest rookie we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Rondo said.
Nothing is set in stone this early in the season, but Sullinger’s start appears to be more serious that originally thought. Rivers also noted that Darko Milicic – yes, Darko Milicic – could see some starts at center, sliding Garnett over to power forward.
The Celtics are obviously deep, but with all these lineup shifts, will it be hard for the first and second units to jell with one another?
“It wouldn’t be tough because that’s how we practice,” Rondo said. “Doc puts about eight or nine guys on the green team, which is the starting group so I get accustomed with Jason [Terry], I get a little flow with Courtney [Lee] so it just depends on rhythm and matchups.”