Too soon to panic? Three worries through three games:
The bench isn’t there yet
We praised what this bench can be numerous times already. But as the old saying goes, they don’t play on paper. And unfortunately, the bench hasn’t been playing well on the basketball court, either. Jason Terry and Jeff Green are looked at to be the anchors off the bench, but all they’ve been doing through three games is weighing the team down. Should we expect this to last? No. Terry’s still one of the best 3-point shooters in the game, and has a pretty lofty resume to back up his skills in the NBA. Green, on the other hand, doesn’t have that resume and fans are already turning on him. Perhaps there’s still a little hesitation out there, but he should ease into his role soon.
Worry level: Low
Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant, and James Harden all share one thing in common. No, Durant and Rondo haven’t grown awesome beards. It’s that they all lead the league in minutes played, averaging 41.7 per game through three games. Obviously Rondo has the legs to last longer than Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (more on him in a second), but that doesn’t make the situation ideal. The issue is that Rondo is so important in not only getting the starting unit going, but also getting a bench unit going that is still in the feeling-each-other-out stages. Look for his minutes to eventually go down with Terry gaining more of Doc’s trust.
Worry level: Medium
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Kevin Garnett, and…
We know the Celtics are going small. We know that they’re built to compete against other small-ball teams. But through three games it appears that an issue from last season is still an issue this season: the lack of a presence down low. Kevin Garnett can’t do it all, and when he’s been out of the game the C’s have been getting outplayed. They love Jared Sullinger, and Brandon Bass has played well so far, but neither player is big enough to overpower traditional centers. Green is built more for the small forward spot, and Darko Milicic seems built more for the bench. Chris Wilcox could be the x-factor if he’s healthy, but so far C’s bigs are either being blocked at the rim or settling for jumpers.
Worry level: High