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Time for the Celtics to Use Their Fresh Legs

Written By: Tyler Mudrick



The Boston Celtics are 34 – 9 and are maintaining their reputation as an elite team in the league after a short “slump”. During their stretch in which they lost 7 of 9 games including a 4 game losing streak, their starters looked tired, impassionate, lazy, and unmotivated. It seemed as if they had no desire to play the games, their bench was in shambles and out of synch. Everyone played like they had an incredible weight on their shoulders and everyone was behind a step or two. Throw in a couple injuries to Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen and the rotation was lacking their usual chemistry and shortened, causing Eddie House and Big Baby Davis to log more minutes in positions they weren’t used to playing in. Despite their troubles, the Celtics were still able to maintain their status in the league and have bounced back with a very strong five game win streak. However, starters are playing with injuries (Pierce and Garnett’s knees), they have aged a bit (Ray Allen), and are in dire need of some extended rest during the middle of the season.

Insert Gabe Pruitt, Bill Walker, and Patty O Bryant here. The Celtics have these three guys on their bench and really have nothing to lose from playing them. The starters have been able to get huge leads as of late, and instead of putting in O Bryant and Walker into the game during garbage time with 6 minutes left, let the kids see if they can keep the lead while playing against other teams better bench players. Gabe Pruitt has been logging bigger numbers within the past few games and his time on the court has been somewhat of a success. While he is no superstar, he hasn’t been playing awful basketball. In January, Pruitt has averaged 11 minutes a game and has only committed 5 turnovers, 3 coming in one game in which they won recently. For a team that is leading the league in turnovers, having a young combo guard being able to take care of the ball is what the Celtics have been lacking. Giving Gabe more time at the point guard position will help Rondo rest, and keep Ray Allen’s legs fresh for the playoffs.

What is the use of sitting a 7 footer on the bench when one of the teams biggest weaknesses is length in the middle. Sure Patty O Bryant gets to practice against KG, but that doesn’t help him perform against other teams. O Bryant is young and inexperienced, some even say he is lazy, however, he can jump through the roof and can “lay in the weeds” like Tommy has always said to come up with a nice defensive play. During O Bryant’s garbage time he has shown some nice post up moves, a great ability to box out and rebound, and also great shot blocking ability. Having O Bryant in the middle during games will allow other teams to think twice about driving to the whole where a 6 foot 6 inch Big Baby or Leon Powe would usually be in his place. Let the kid learn from his mistakes and give the team some much needed length while we are at it, especially if this injury to Perkins lingers on.

The most exciting young player I have seen so far is Bill Walker. To me he has great potential and there is great hope for him to be a nice role player on this team. The team is lacking a quick forward off the bench who can show some offense and pester players on the defensive end, Walker does both those things. Walker has played only three games so far this season. He’s averaged 10 minutes, 6 points, and a couple rebounds while shooting 70 % from the field. The best thing I have seen from him so far is his confidence and basketball IQ, both much higher than Tony Allen’s. I like the idea of Walker coming in as the 7th or 8th man to give Pierce and Allen much needed rest. This is only going to make the kids better and gain more experience, and at the same time will develop much needed chemistry off the bench and trust in their teammates and starters. I vote we give the fresh legs some more time. We are already going to the playoffs, and what’s the worst that can happen? We go on another 4 game losing streak?

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