Our Boston Celtics were 15-15 at one point last season and struggling through a myriad of issues; Paul Pierce’s slow start, the loss of Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox to heart-related issues, and Jermaine O’Neal being…well, Jermaine O’Neal.
So Doc Rivers improvised.
He thought outside of the box, bringing Brandon Bass into the starting lineup and asking proud warrior Kevin Garnettt to rotate to the center position, even though Garnett had always played the four. The change turned out to be a revelation, as the Celtics’ small ball lineup created passing lanes and fueled ball movement that had previously been lacking.
Welcome to the Brave New World of Celtics basketball. Small is the new big. Big is the new small. Garnett will likely start at the five again, with Bass manning the power forward position. And with a host of new pieces in the mix, the C’s should be primed to play both big and small depending on the opponent.
Versatility, in fact, will be the Celtics’ biggest strength this season.
Pierce can play the two if needed. Garnett – the four and the five. Ditto for Jared Sullinger. Green is a veritable Swiss Army Knife, and can play both forward positions equally well – while having no problem starting or coming off the bench. And let’s not forget Avery Bradley.
Get ready, Celtics fans – this season promises to be as fun to watch as any in recent memory.
And being on the short list of potential NBA Finals participants doesn’t hurt, either!